PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: International community must intervene to secure release of Islamic Movement leader


IHRC urges the Nigerian government to obey a court order and release the detained leader of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement immediately.

Nigeria’s High Court made the order to release Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah on 2 December 2016 and stipulated a time-frame of 45 days for implementation.

That period expired yesterday with no signs that the country’s state security services, who have held the pair for over a year, intend to abide by the terms of the order.

The Zakzakys have been held without charge and mainly incommunicado following their arrest during a savage military assault against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in December 2015. Both were shot during the attack in Zaria in which at least 1000 IMN supporters, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.

IHRC is extremely concerned about the flagrancy with which the security services are continuing to flout both domestic and international law and indeed operate outside all legal norms. The failure to free the Zakzakys to date suggests that they are effectively a law unto themselves.

It is clear that left to their own devices, the Nigerian authorities have little desire or incentive to ensure that the rule of law is upheld.

For this reason IHRC calls on the international community to take concrete steps against Nigeria with the aim of securing the Zakzakys’ freedom.

To this end IHRC will be presentimg further evidence to the International Criminal Court in relation to the illegal detention of the Zakzakys. This is in addition to our March 2016 petition to the ICC to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members.

IHRC has organised a vigil outside the Nigerian High Commission in London on Tuesday 17 January at 9-10.30pm.

For media enquiries or further details please call +44 20 8904 4222 or +44 7958 522196 or +44 7426 728074[Ends]

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. The report can be found here



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

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc