Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s aborted trip to India for medical treatment – some notes

  1. IHRC has worked on the campaign to free the Sheikh, his wife and all those detained unjustly from the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, most recently since the Zaria massacres of 2015.  Our work to support members of the Islamic Movement who have been victimised by various Nigerian regimes, goes back to our founding in 1997. There are many facets to this campaign, some of which are publicly known and some of which are confidential to his and the various other cases.

The background to the India trip

2. In April 2019 IHRC was able to bring a team of doctors to Nigeria to examine the Sheikh and his wife and make recommendations as regards their treatment.  Eventually, after much international pressure, the courts demanded Sheikh and his wife be released to travel to India for urgent medical treatment in early August.

3. At the time of this hearing, despite IHRC following up medical options in a number of countries, India was the only viable destination.  The reason for this includes the fact that various countries were approached but delays or outright refusals were received, or the Nigerian government refused certain destinations.  The option of India came into being as three of the Sheikh’s trusted medical team were from there and helped to facilitate the visit without the involvement or interference (at that stage) from the Indian government. 

4. As part of the court conditions, Nigerian security were granted permission to supervise the trip.  On arrival in India however, this term was violated by Nigerian security services. Instead of observing, they began a regime of harassment and effective detention of the Sheikh and his wife in their hospital room, removing their legal documents from them and with the help, it would appear, of their Indian counterparts, also prevented them at various times from meeting their trusted doctors, denied them access to their Indian lawyers, IHRC or even friends and demanded they control the medical treatment with doctors and even hospitals of their own choosing.

5. Given the level of harassment and also ultimatums presented by both the Nigerian and Indian authorities, Sheikh decided to return with dignity to Nigeria as he no longer had any faith in the process.

What the Campaign entails and how you can help

6. It has come to IHRC’s attention that upon Sheikh’s arrival a number of messages claiming to raise or claiming to have raised funds for Sheikh’s treatment began circulating.  Likewise at least one statement claimed to have arranged the hospital and medical treatment.  To this date IHRC has no knowledge of these initiatives and remains deeply alarmed that such claims were made.

7. Part of the campaign for victims of police and army brutality in Nigeria, IHRC’s work has involved raising funds for those injured to get medical treatment either in Nigeria or if need be in another country.  It has also involved raising funds for the families of those killed.  Both these fundraising campaigns, as well a campaign for Qurbani have run over a number of years and details of this can be found on our website www.ihrc.org.uk, and donations can be made at: https://donations.ihrc.org/Nigeria.   We have not publicly sought funds for the treatment of Sheikh and his wife at any stage.

8. Due to ongoing concerns that funds for victims of Nigerian police and army brutality have been raised without knowledge or authority, Sheikh’s office issued a statement on 28 February 2019 that the only organisation to be contacted regarding the collection of humanitarian funds outside Nigeria is IHRC.

9. We encourage everyone concerned about the Sheikh to keep visiting the Campaign page for his case here, for news, actions points and ways to help.  May Allah swt reward you here and hereafter.  Ameen.