PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Court drops cases against Islamic Movement members

From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

31 July 2017

PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Court drops cases against Islamic Movement members

IHRC welcomes the judgement today of the High Court in the state of Kaduna to discharge and acquit almost 100 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria who were arrested during and following the 2015 army massacre of followers of the movement.

The judgement followed the filing of a “no submission” case by lawyers who argued that the members had no case to answer and that the authorities were wrong to arraign them.

The acquitted were among a total of approximately 200 members of the Islamic Movement arrested during the December 2015 massacre in which over 1000 civilians were butchered. The military assault between December 12-14 in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria also left many properties and religious spaces belonging to the Islamic Movement and its members destroyed.The massacre is the subject of a complaint to the International Criminal Court.

Following the judgement the President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa, said: “This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice, against tyranny and impunity.”

IHRC renews its call on authorities to release the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenat who remain in custody and are due to face trial this week in the Kaduna High Court.

Authorities seem determined to force the pair to stand trial on trumped up allegations that along with supporters of his group they abetted the commission of culpable homicide when they blocked roads in the city of Zaria in December 2015.

In reality the charges seem to be designed to deflect government responsibility for a planned and systematic attack by soldiers on the Islamic Movement. The charges are all the more ridiculous in view of the fact that the higher federal court had previously ruled the pair’s detention to be unlawful and unconstitutional and ordered the government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation.

The move is just the latest in a long line of blows inflicted on the sheikh designed to cripple the Islamic Movement of Nigeria which he leads.

Notes to editors:

Last March IHRC called on the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre.

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

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