IMN’s Ibraheem Zakzaky: Detained Nigeria Shia leader to seek treatment in India

A Nigerian court has allowed the leader of a banned pro-Iranian Shia Muslim group to seek medical leave in India after more than three years in custody.

Supporters of Ibrahim Zakzaky have been protesting on the streets of the capital, Abuja, for months calling for his release.

Sheikh Zakzaky has been charged with culpable homicide and other offences, all of which he denies.

His supporters say he has suffered two minor strokes and is losing his sight.

The court also ordered a delegation to accompany Sheikh Zakzaky to India to ensure he returns for trial after getting treatment.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, which was founded four decades ago by Sheikh Zakzaky, has released a statement welcoming the court’s decision.

“It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity,” the statement said.

It accused the Nigerian authorities of inflicting “brutal wounds” on Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenat Ibrahim who have been in police custody since 2015.

The group was banned in July after months of protests which saw violent clashes between protesters and the security forces – including one outside the federal parliament building. Several people have been killed in the protests, including a senior police officer and a journalist.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the group had been “taken over by extremists who didn’t believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence”.

Human rights groups have condemned the police’s violent response to the protests.

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