The incarceration of Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky

The incarceration of Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky

In Nigeria, people have been demanding democratic rule, the rule of the people. Their leader, Sheik Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, is imprisoned. He is an outspoken Muslim cleric, the head of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement, a movement that he founded in the late 1970s when he was a student at Ahmadu Bello University. El Zakzaky, began propagating Islam around 1979, at the time of the Iranian revolution which saw Iran’s monarchy overthrown and replaced with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Imam Khomeini. Zakzaky believed that the establishment of a republic along similar religious lines in Nigeria would be liberating. He has been detained several times in the past for civil disobedience under military regimes in Nigeria during the 1980s and 1990s. He continues to be seen as a threat by Nigerian authorities. In December 2015, the Nigerian Army raided his residence in Zaria, seriously injured him, and killed hundreds of his followers. Since then, he has remained under state detention in the nation’s capital, even though his release was ordered in late 2016.
Nigerian authorities have tried to murder Sheikh Zakzaky several times. His son has repeatedly raised concern about the deteriorating health of the 66-year-old cleric, who has been held in detention along with his wife for more than three years.
Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost his left eye. During the brutal crackdown, three of his sons lost their lives, his wife sustained serious wounds, and more than 300 of his followers were killed. Zakzaky was charged in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty, vehemently rejecting all accusations brought up against him by his country’s authorities.
His son, Mohammad, recently said that he was shocked by his father’s worsening medical condition after visiting him, stressing that he needed to be immediately hospitalised as “large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium have been found in his blood.” Around the world every human rights organisation has denounced and condemned such brutal acts. The Islamic Human Rights Commission has called on Nigeria to immediately release Zakzaky from prison due to his health condition.
In a recent letter to the United Nations, dozens of Western intellectuals called on UN chief Antonio Guterres to pressure Nigeria to release the senior Muslim figure. They also urged the world body to take concrete action against ongoing violations being committed against scholars and rights campaigners by Nigerian authorities and the administration of President Muhammad Buhari.
Everyone around the world should pray for Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, for their liberty and for medical care that they need.
— rahihussain55@gmail.com

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