IHRC welcomes court order permitting release of Sheikh Zakzaky

Free Zakzaky by Mohammad Hamza, Intifada Street

PRESS RELEASE:

IHRC welcomes the decision of the Kaduna State High Court this morning granting bail to Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife to leave Nigeria in order to receive urgent medical treatment.

While the decision does not exonerate the pair, it is nevertheless an important first step in taking them out of the country where they have been persecuted for over three years. If and when they are released the couple will board a flight to India where specialist medical facilities are available to treat the sheikh’s extreme levels of lead poisoning.

IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “This is a long overdue decision and we hope that the Nigerian executive expedites matters to make their departure smooth and unproblematic. We look forward to their prompt release without forgetting that there are still approximately 150 members and supporters of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria still in detention.”

The lead poisoning was sustained after Sheikh Zakzaky received four gunshot injuries during the 2015 massacre of Islamic Movement of Nigeria members and supporters by the country’s armed forces. The toxicity is believed to be a direct result of the shrapnel from bullets left in his body. The sheikh has also lost sight in one eye and the use of one arm and suffered a minor stroke earlier this month. Doctors say his health is deteriorating daily and that he is at risk of death if left untreated.

Nigerian authorities had earlier this month promised to issue international passports to the sheikh and his wife so they could leave the country in order to receive medical attention. However they later backtracked on their assurances leading the pair’s lawyers to seek their release through the courts.

In recent weeks dozens of supporters in Nigeria have been killed or wounded as they intensified protests demanding the pair’s release. Demonstrations have erupted all around the world to seek to pressurise the Nigerian government to restore their freedom.

For more information or comment please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958522196[ENDS]

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