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Sheikh Zakzaky’s detention in Nigeria unconstitutional



Press TV has interviewed Massoud Shadjareh, a member of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, to discuss the recent protest rallies held in several cities across Nigeria to demand the release of senior Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Give us your thoughts on how events have transpired following the Zaria massacre. What is more shocking in the eyes of critics is the fact that how Sheikh Zakzaky and his supporters still remain in a so-called state of limbo.

Shadjareh: Absolutely. I mean the fact of the matter is that almost on a weekly basis there are mass demonstrations right across Nigeria and the Islamic movement members are demanding justice and release of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife and indeed hundreds of others who are still being detained and in the case of Sheikh Zakzaky, he has got no access to lawyers or medical attention and it really is unconstitutional, it is against all the rules of due process in Nigeria and it is being implemented so vigorously and it really is outrageous that more than three months after this incident, we are still seeing sort of illegal holding of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife but also the number of people who are missing, there are just under 500 people missing and more than 300 have been confirmed Shahid.

So we are talking about really a mass operation which was organized against the Islamic movement and when you look at the whole incident, when you look at how his house was demolished after the attack, how the Hussainiyyah was demolished after [the] attack, even the graveyard was desecrated and destroyed, you see that usually the authorities try to hold and keep any evidence and they actually make sure that no sort of impact is being put on where the evidence is but in this case you see that they have behaved as criminals and they have destroyed all the evidence. They have sort of destroyed the house, they have destroyed the Hussainiyyah, so they will destroy the evidence of their crimes.

And I think we have come to the conclusion now, both inside and outside Nigeria that we are not going to get due process through Nigerian authorities and this is why last week we actually took the case to [the] International Court of Justice in Hague and we hope that it would be investigated there and some justice will be served.

Press TV: Would you like to see the international community weighing in a little more specifically with revelations that … those arrested have been denied adequate medical care despite being critically wounded and also the fact that Sheikh Zakzaky has been …, he is not being allowed to see his lawyers and meet with them prior to whatever due process is taking place in Nigeria?

Shadjareh: Yes absolutely. I think the fact that so clearly now the authorities are either incompetent or not able to present Sheikh Zakzaky to his lawyers … or even charge him, I mean he has not even being charged and he is being just kept in secret location, that is outrageous in any society.

The fact that there are mass graves that we have got photograph footage and we know exactly where they are and the fact that that needs to be investigated by [the] international community, we have no hope of Nigerian government to deal with this sort of thing. The fact that the army of nation goes out and actually destroys and kills around 1,000 people and destroys private property to that extent needs to be addressed. There are many issues and [the] international community needs to stand up for what it sort of claims to be promoting human rights, justice and legality which is all being undermined in Nigeria today.

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