TEHRAN (IQNA) – Amnesty International called on the Nigerian government to comply with a court ruling that calls for an end to the “unlawful” detention of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the country’s top Shia Muslim cleric.
“Zakzaky is being unlawfully detained,” Amnesty Nigeria
director Makmid Kamara said on Monday, according to Press TV.
He added that the Nigerian government would “demonstrate a
flagrant — and dangerous — contempt for the rule of law” if it ignored a
December ruling by an Abuja court, which called the detention of Sheikh Zakzaky
and his followers illegal and unconstitutional.
The Nigerian court has imposed a 45-day deadline for the
release of Sheikh Zakzaky and hundreds of his supporters. The deadline expires
later on Monday.
Sheikh Zakzaky, who leads the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
(IMN), was arrested more than a year ago during raids by the Nigerian army on
peaceful gatherings of IMN members in the northern city of Zaria. Human rights
groups say nearly 350 IMN members were killed in the army raids. The Nigerian
military has rejected the death toll.
Amnesty said the government in Nigeria could extend
Zakzaky’s detention on trumped-up charges in a bid to justify the crackdown on
IMN members in Zaria in Kaduna State.
“This might be part of a wider effort to cover up the
gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in
December 2015 that left hundreds dead,” said Kamara.
The government in Abuja has yet to react to Amnesty’s call
for Zakzaky’s release. Officials in the Kaduna State Government have accused
the cleric and IMN supporters of committing “acts of lawlessness” over the past
30 years, charges that Nigeria’s judges have dismissed.