From: Islamic Human Rights Commission
22 January 2018
PRESS RELEASE – NIGERIA: Govt begins legal attempt to legitimise detention of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky
The continuing detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky takes another turn today with the commencement of a government appeal challenging a court order made in December 2016 that he and his wife be released.
The Attorney General of Nigeria has filed an appeal to overthrow the order of the Federal High Court on 2 December 2016 that the pair be freed within 45 days because their incarceration was illegal and unconstitutional.
In spite of the court order the Zakzakys remain in the custody of Nigerian security services with little sign that the latter intend to release them any time soon, if at all.
Shaykh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah have been held by the state since December 2015 along with other members and supporters of the movement following their arrest during a savage military assault against the movement in December 2015. Both were shot during the attack in Zaria in which at least 1000 supporters, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the movement and its followers destroyed.
IHRC finds it scandalous that instead of upholding the rule of law the Nigerian government is actually subverting it by continuing to hold the Zakzakys in defiance of the release order.
Regardless of its use of the legal process to keep the pair in detention the Nigerian government should have freed them over a year ago. The order was not a stay of execution while the government sought other means to enforce its will. This behaviour also suggests that even if it loses the appeal the Nigerian government intends to continue to hold the Zakzakys.
We also note the obvious hypocrisy in disobeying the courts on one hand but turning to them in the hope of an alternative decision on the other.
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Notes to editors:
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