Qom clerics slam Zakzaky’s imprisonment in Nigeria

December 22, 2019 - 20:31

TEHRAN — The Qom Seminary Teachers Society on Saturday denounced the illegal imprisonment of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, a top Shiite cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

In a statement, the society pointed to reports that Zakzaky was being transferred to prison despite the deterioration of his physical condition, expressing grave concern over his health, Iran Press reported.

“The responsibility for the consequences of the delay in the treatment of the Sheikh and his unlawful detention lies with the Nigerian government,” the statement read.

It also underlined that the Nigerian government must provide the necessary medical services to Sheikh Zakzaky by ending the current situation.

“It is not appropriate for a government that claims to defend freedom and the rights of its citizens, to persecute someone who pursues nothing but a suitable life for the Nigerian state and people,” it added.

Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight when Nigerian government forces raided the northern town of Zaria more than three years ago. His wife also sustained serious wounds while more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed in the violence.

The cleric has been kept in custody along with his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.

Back in 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from jail following a trial but the government has so far refused to set him free.

Earlier this month, Nigerian authorities transferred Zakzaky and his wife to a dilapidated prison, where many detainees have so far died due to lack of medical attention.

A high court ordered the Department of State Services to transfer the two to the Correctional Center in Kaduna state, northwest of the country.

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) say any attempt to take the couple anywhere other than a hospital will put them in further jeopardy.

MH/PA

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