Islamic Movement of Nigeria demands government release Sheikh Zakzaky's passport
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has petitioned the international organizations over the decision of the Nigerian government to seize the passport of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat El-Zakzaky.
In the petition by its academic forum signed by Abdullahi Musa, the group demands the intervention of the United Nations, European Union, National Human Rights Commission, and other countries and organizations.
“We write to inform you that despite the 28-July ruling of the Kaduna State High Court [that discharged and acquitted Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife] …the government has decided to defy the judgement and frustrate the overseas trip as it continues to hinder the couple from retrieving their travel documents,” the petition reads.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna State High Court last month.
Their trial started on May 15, 2018 and dragged on for over three years. The high court issued its final verdict on Wednesday, Ishaq Adam Ishaq, their lawyer, said in a statement.
Both the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security (DSS) have denied being in possession of the international passports of the couple, the IMN said on Friday.
This has triggered suspicions that some powerful actors in the Buhari presidency are deliberately denying the Shia leader his rights.
In December 2015, Nigeria’s military launched a crackdown as part of a deadly state-ordered escalation targeting the movement that Abuja has branded as illegal.
The campaign saw the troops attacking Zakzaky’s residence in the town of Zaria in Kaduna, afflicting him and his wife with serious injuries that reportedly caused the cleric to lose his left eye.
During the crackdown, the military also attacked the movement’s members as they were holding religious processions, with the government alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister.
The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse to attack them.
The violence led to the death of three of Zakzaky’s sons and more than 300 of his followers.
The couple were kept in custody despite a 2016 ruling by Nigeria’s federal high court that ordered their release from prison.