Systematic torture taking place in Nigeria: Pundit
Press TV has interviewed Massoud Shadjareh, the head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), in London, to ask for his take on the Nigerian army’s brutal crackdown on Shia Muslims.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: The events that have taken place over the past few days in Zaria are considered by many as quite perplexing. Please talk to us about the events and how they have transpired on the ground there.
Shadjareh: Well, there was a claim by the Nigerian armed forces that there was an assassination attempt, but that story has been changed by them now. They are saying there was a traffic incident that unleashed them taking this very unprecedented sort of situation…, unleashing huge number of armed forces first against the Hussainiyyah which resulted, now we know, around 350 innocent people being shot dead.
And then sort of few hours later, the army unleashed its power, tanks and the guns on the resident house of Sheikh Zakzaky and we know that has resulted in much further loss of life of innocent people, which had nothing to protect themselves whatsoever except their faith. We also know that there is a systematic torture taking place. There is also denial of medical attention. Even the Sheikh and his family were being all shot; [they] were kept in the bombed-out and burned-out until the next 24 hours without any medical attention and now we have got evidence that there were being tortured. The photographs of Sheikh Zakzaky [show him] being beaten up and tortured and his leg being held and blood all over him. It really is disgusting to see anyone, any human being treated that way by so-called their own army and we are extremely concerned. Now we have been told that eventually they have given him medical attention. But we, after seeing these photographs, are questioning if this really has happened. We cannot verify it because no one has been allowed to actually investigate or see the Sheikh. Why is that he is being held by the military? This is not war. Why has not he been handed over to the police and sort of civil system? There are really many questions and we are extremely concerned. Also for the fact that now we are estimating over one thousand people have been killed and eyewitness are actually giving us information there are mass graves; people are being sort of buried to sort of keep secret the numbers of those who actually have died. And also there has been number of eyewitnesses who are actually saying that those people from the community who have died, their clothes are being removed and uniform put on them to sort of justify and say that army has also got death and casualty, which they do not.