IHRC welcomes the decision by a court in Nigeria today ordering the release of the last remaining Islamic Movement members detained following a government massacre of the group’s supporters in 2015.
87 members of the movement were acquitted and discharged by the Kaduna High Court today for their alleged role in the death of a member of the security forces during the massacre in Zaria by armed forces in which over 1000 innocent people are believed to have been killed. To date, no public official has been charged with any of the deaths.
The decision leaves only the movement’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah, undergoing prosecution.
The government’s case against the Zakzakys is that they effectively ordered an alleged attack on Nigerian armed forces in the run up to the 2015 massacre.
However, the charges seem increasingly tenuous given that all the suspects that the Zakzakys are accused of ordering to carry out the violence have now been acquitted. If there are no perpetrators of an alleged offence it follows that there can be no one that has directed them to carry it out.
We repeat our call for the Nigerian authorities to immediately halt the witch hunt against the couple and release them in line with the federal high court ruling in 2016 that their detention is unlawful and unconstitutional.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
More information about the unlawful detention of the Zakzakys can be found at https://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/press-releases/23783-press-kit-who-is-sheikh-el-zakzaky-challenges-to-the-buhari-narrative/
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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