5 years in detention, Shiites demand immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites have called for unconditional release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, along with those still in detention. 

Recalled that the convoy of Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai had clashed with members of IMN in Zaria on December 12, 2015, leading to death of several persons on the fateful day. 

Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife and some Shiites have been detention, and undergoing court trial since the incident happened. 

In a statement on Sunday by the IMN media Spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa to mark the 5th anniversary of the Zaria killings, it noted that five years in detention amounted to systematic oppression of Zakzaky and other members of the Movement. 

“As we mark the fifth anniversary of this Zaria Genocide Memorial, we unequivocally reiterate that enough of this systematic oppression of Sheikh Zakzaky and members of the Islamic Movement. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Sheikh from this unjustifiable detention, along with those still in detention on this account,” according to the statement. 

“The days 12-14th December 2020 mark the fifth anniversary of the Zaria Massacre. On days like those, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and thousands of his followers faced the most brutal crackdown ever, at the behest of the Buhari-led Nigerian regime and its foreign backers. In those forty-eight hours of that eventful weekend, over a thousand unarmed Nigerian citizens were extra judicially gunned down in cold blood and many hundred others were arrested. 

“It was in those two cruel days that many infants and babies that knew nothing about the crimes their parents were allegedly accused of were mercilessly killed. It was during that black period too that even the elderly were not spared. The seventy-year-old elder sister of Sheikh Zakzaky was gruesomely thrown in a raging blaze while still alive, as she cried for water to quench her thirst. It was during that period that many families were completely wiped out of existence. It was during that period that not less than 193 children were butchered without any pity. Over 297 women, 548 men and 23 pregnant women were all killed within those two eventful days in December 2015. Valuable property worth millions of Naira were torched and vandalized. 

“In the meantime, five years on, the government has never been able to prove any of their allegations against Sheikh Zakzaky or any of his supporters in any court of law. The Sheikh has remained unlawfully detained in spite of a judgement by an Abuja Federal High Court that his continued detention is a breach of the constitution and his fundamental rights, and indeed all known laws. For most of his years in detention since then, Sheikh Zakzaky has been held virtually incommunicado with only limited access to his legal representation. 

“This government has also since gone ahead to escalate their tyranny against members of the Islamic Movement, further arresting and detaining equally many hundreds more. The rights of Sheikh Zakzaky and his supporters are continually being violated with impunity. We, therefore, call on the International community, especially the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague and the UN to expedite action to hold the Nigerian government accountable for its crimes, and help uphold the inviolable human rights of the people of Nigeria”. 

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