PRESS RELEASE –
Lawyers for the imprisoned leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife Mallima Zeenah, have filed an application seeking to end their near five-year ordeal.
The application to quash the charges was made today in Kaduna High Court on the basis that the charges against the pair are frivolous and an abuse of court process.
The court will decide the application when it returns from its summer break at the end of September.
Meanwhile the couple remain in custody in Kaduna state prison despite an earlier court ruling ordering their release. In 2016 the federal high court ruled that the pair’s detention was unlawful and unconstitutional and ordered the Nigerian government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation. Instead, perversely, state authorities in Kaduna decided to prosecute the pair in 2018.
The Zakzakys are being tried for their alleged involvement in violence that resulted in the death of a member of the security forces during a massacre by armed forces of supporters of the Islamic Movement in Zaria in December 2015.
Despite the fact that over 1000 innocent supporters of the Islamic Movement were butchered in the attack, not a single official has been charged or brought to trial over the killings.
Last month IHRC again wrote to the Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, urging him to free the pair. The letter reminded Buhari that the Zaria massacre is already the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court, bringing unwelcome international attention to the country.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “For how long will the Nigerian authorites continue to find excuses and delaying tactics to prolong this injustice? Whichever way you look at it the case is a travesty of justice and a damning indictment of human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.”
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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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