The son of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has made a renewed plea to Nigerian authorities to expedite his release so that he can be given life-saving medical treatment.
The appeal comes as authorities appear to be procrastinating over an agreement to free Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah who have both been in custody since they were detained following a savage military attack on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in December 2015.
Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky has already lost sight in one eye and the use of one arm after receiving four gunshot injuries during the massacre. The lead toxicity is believed to be a direct result of the shrapnel from bullets left in his body.
The sheikh suffered a minor stroke earlier this month and his health is deteriorating daily.
Nigerian authorities have promised to issue international passports to the pair so they can leave the country to allow Sheikh Zakzaky to access treatment for the critical levels of lead and cadmium toxicity in his body.
“But we are still waiting for the authorities to fulfil their promise to re-issue their international passports, especially since we have already handed them all the required documents to get it done in a matter of less than a few hours on Monday”, said the statement issued by Mohammad el-Zakzaky, the only surviving son of the couple.
“Before I have to say ‘To Allah do we belong and to Him do we return’, before I have to says ashes to ashes and dust to dust, I am again publicly urging the authorities to speed up the process…”
The moves to free the couple started last week amid renewed protests in the country and internationally designed to increase pressure on the Nigerian government.
In late 2016 a federal court ruled the couples’ detention unlawful and unconstitutional and ordered the government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation. That order was never implemented and the charges were brought against the couple in 2018. In reality, the charges are designed to deflect government responsibility for the planned and systematic 2015 attack by soldiers which is now the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court.
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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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