A court in Nigeria’s Kaduna state in a seemingly politically-motivated decision adjourned the trial of top Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife.
According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) website, at the court session on Monday, the judge decided that the trial be adjourned until April 23-24.
This is while the health conditions of the senior cleric and his wife, Zeenah, are deteriorating and they need immediate medical care, which has been denied by the Kaduna prison authorities.
Masoud Shajareh, head of the IHRC, told IQNA that many court sessions have been held on this case over the past four years, most of which, like Monday’s session, have aimed to waste time and prolong the detention of the two.
He also regretted that despite a court ruling, doctors were not allowed to see Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife on Monday.
Shajareh underlined the need for human rights and political activists to put more pressure on the Nigerian government to release the two.
Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost the sight of his left eye in a 2015 raid by security forces, that left more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons dead. His wife also sustained serious injuries during the raid.
He has been kept in custody along with his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.
On December 5, 2019, Nigerian authorities transferred the top Shia cleric, who is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), 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 earlier in the day to transfer the two to the Correctional Center in Kaduna state, northwest of the country.
Members of the IMN said that any attempt to take the couple anywhere other than a hospital will put them in further jeopardy.
The IMN described the move as a “mischievous” attempt by the government to humiliate “our leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and subjecting him to further hardships.”
The IMN said the facilities at the Kaduna Central Prison are dilapidated.
The group said it is the same prison where some survivors of the December 2015 raid perished due to a lack of medical attention.