Monday, 5 August 2019

Detained Nigeria Shia leader, Zakzakky to seek treatment in India

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Image copyrightAFPImage captionMembers of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria take part in a demonstration against the detention of their leader Ibraheem Zakzaky in Abuja

A Nigerian court has allowed the leader of a banned pro-Iranian Shia Muslim group to seek medical leave in India after more than three years in custody.

Supporters of Ibrahim Zakzaky have been protesting on the streets of the capital, Abuja, for months calling for his release.

Sheikh Zakzaky, 66, has been charged with culpable homicide and other offences, all of which he denies.

His supporters say he has suffered two minor strokes and is losing his sight.


The court also ordered a delegation to accompany Sheikh Zakzaky to India to ensure he returns for trial after getting treatment.

Why Nigeria has banned pro-Iranian Muslim group

Africa Live: More on this and other African stories

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which was founded four decades ago by Sheikh Zakzaky, welcomed the court's decision as "a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity".

It accused the Nigerian authorities of inflicting "brutal wounds" on Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenat Ibrahim, who have been in police custody since 2015.

The group was banned in July after months of protests which saw violent clashes between protesters and the security forces - including one outside the federal parliament building. Several people have been killed in the protests, including a senior police officer and a journalist.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the group had been "taken over by extremists who didn't believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence".

Human rights groups have condemned the police's violent response to the protests.

Sheikh Zakzaky was among hundreds of people arrested in 2015 after security forces stormed the group's headquarters and killed about 350 people.

The army said at the time that it was protecting its chief of staff and his convoy who it says were attacked by IMN supporters



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