The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) says the government in Abuja plans to keep the movement’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenah in detention until they die.
“Are the tyrants holding the brave sheikh captive waiting for time to kill him since Allah has rescued him from their attempt to kill him using their military might?” said IMN spokesman S.I. Ahmad on Wednesday.
“Sheikh Zakzaky has been shot at close range for him to die, but Allah wishes to see him alive from the barbaric December attack. He has been denied proper medical care, but he is still living,” Ahmad added.
Ahmad added that the sheikh is still suffering bullet wounds inflected on him while he was first detained and the after-effects of a recent stroke. He noted that Zeenah is also ill and needs medical attention.
The remarks were made at the end of a protest rally held in Abuja with a large number of demonstrators calling for Zakzaky’s release.
On January 13, Zakzaky, at the time rumored to have died in detention, made his first public appearance since he was illegally detained by security forces in 2015.
The top Shia cleric lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.
Despite the ruling of a Federal High Court, which ordered his unconditional release in 2016, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.