PRESS RELEASE: Nigeria – IMN leader must be freed as ordered by Abuja court


IHRC has written to the President of Nigeria as well as the country’s State Security Services urging them to not miss this opportunity to resolve the current crisis involving Mu’allim Ibrahim Zakzaky, Head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria

In December 2015 Sheikh Zakzaky’s house was demolished and he was injured and arrested. He has been held since then without any charges or a trial.

The court in the capital Abuja has ordered that the State Security Services free Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah and the deadline for doing so is 15 January 2017. The State Security Services must implement the rule of law. Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife must be freed immediately and it must be ensured that they are protected and kept safe from the elements that caused events like the Zaria massacre in 2015.

IHRC have also encouraged campaigners to follow suit by writing their own letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Department of State Services and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh said, “One of the reasons for this crisis is these people are behaving criminally and acting outside the rule of law with impunity. We should all urge the Nigerian authorities to bring justice and peace by implementing the court’s order.”

Notes to editors:

In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members.

Our report which we submitted to the ICC can be found online here

IHRC’s letter to President Buhari can be seen below:

Dear President Buhari,

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is writing to you to urge you to secure the release of Mu’allim Ibrahim Zakzaky, Head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

I am sure you are aware that Zakzaky’s house was demolished and he was injured and arrested by the Nigerian military on 14 December 2015, and has been held since without any charges or a trial.

Since then Zakzaky has been under house arrest and applied to the High Court to be released. On 2 December 2016, the High Court ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to release Zakzaky within 45 days. The deadline is 15 January 2017 and we fear that the State Security Services will fail to release him on time.

IHRC urges you to pressure the DSS to release Mu’allim Zakzaky in line with the court order and to ensure his safety from further attacks or arbitrary detention. We urge you not to miss this opportunity to deliver justice and to demonstrate to the international community that Nigeria upholds the rule of law. It is important that the rule of law is applied and followed to avoid further staining the reputation of Nigeria.

Yours sincerely,

Massoud Shadjareh



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

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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