Alert Update: Nigeria – 16 of the 127 Detainees Have Been Released in Sokoto

——————————————-
Islamic Human Rights Commission
——————————————-

12 March 2007

Alert Update: Nigeria – 16 of the 127 Detainees Have Been Released in Sokoto

Summary

On 6 March 2008, 16 of the 127 Shia members of the Islamic Movement, who were arrested and detained following the killing of Sunni cleric Umar Danmaishiyya, were reportedly released after the Federal High Court in Sokoto granted them bail. The rest of the detained members are still awaiting trial since August 2007. Amongst those released were Alhaji Malami, Alhaji Na Madina, Alhaji Nura, Alhaji Junaidu, Malam Ibrahim and Malam Abdullahi Mai Faci. According to reports, the released detainees are in good health, but have no homes to return to as Sokoto’s local authorities have destroyed their homes.

Background

After the killing of Sunni cleric Umar Danmaishiyya on 18 July 2007, Shia members of the group known as the ‘Islamic Movement’ and ‘The Muslim Brothers’ were collectively blamed for the killing by Sokoto’s local authorities. Subsequently, the police arrested and detained more than 100 of the group’s members. Since the assassination, many homes have been destroyed and many women and children have gone missing. Further, some members have been brutally murdered. All this was reportedly carried out by a combined force of federal military, state police and mobs under police protection.

It is reportedly believed by the Shia community of Sokoto that the local government had used the assassination of the Sunni cleric as a ploy to indiscriminately attack them. In weeks following the initial killing, the state government destroyed the group’s centre, clinic and school.

Although the state commissioner of the Nigerian police declared on the BBC Hausa Service that there was no evidence linking members of the Sokoto’s Shia community to the cleric’s assassination, the state government continued to collectively punish the minority sect.

127 members of the Shia group have been detained since 20 August 2007, following the Umar Danmaishiyya’s death, while none have been charged with killing or conspiracy to kill the cleric. On 3 October 2007, the home of Kasimu Omar, one of the Shia leaders detained, was demolished alongside three other homes. Interestingly, the official reason was the government’s plan to build a police station and clinic in its place. The trial for the detained members has been postponed several times since their detention.

The Nigerian judicial process in the country is reportedly one of the slowest in the world. Over 60% of inmates in their prison system are awaiting trial. They live with ordinarily convicted criminals and are regularly subjected to rape, torture and various other dehumanizing conditions. Many die while waiting to be tried.

For sample letters and detailed background information , please refer to our previous alerts about the crisis in Sokoto at: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2977 and https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2892

————————————————————————————————————

IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Please help IHRC by visiting https://www.ihrc.org.uk/catalog and making a donation or buying an item from our on-line store.

If you want to subscribe to the IHRC list please send an email to subscribe@ihrc.org

If you want to unsubscribe from the IHRC list please send an email from your subscribed email address to unsubscribe@ihrc.org

If you are reusing this alert, please cite the source.

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

Join the Struggle for Justice. Join IHRC.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org