The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), on Friday, January 22, penned a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to release the unlawfully detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife in order to protect them from the spread of Covid-19 in the country’s jails.
Simultaneously IHRC has also written to the United Nations asking the international body to exert pressure on Nigeria to ensure the speedy release of Zakzaky.
1st News had reported that Mallimah Zeenah tested positive for COVID-19 this week in Kaduna state prison where she is currently being held along with her husband Sheikh Zakzaky.
“Given Mallimah’s underlying medical conditions and her age; her infection places her at heightened risk of severe illness and/or death.
“Sheikh Zakzaky himself suffers from many underlying conditions which put him at high risk of developing life-threatening symptoms should he contract the virus,” the IHRC explained.
In 2020, Nigeria released 7,813 inmates from its Correctional Service centres around the country to relieve pressure and help fight the raging pandemic.
Many of those released were freed under presidential pardons issued by Buhari. However, the president failed to act on a request by IHRC for the clemency to be extended to Zakzaky.
IHRC’s letters call for efforts to be made to release the pair immediately on humanitarian grounds; so that they can receive the care and protection they urgently need.
“What compounds the situation is that Mallimah and her husband should not be in custody in the first place. They are being tried for culpable homicide for allegedly being responsible; for ordering violence that resulted in the death of a member of the security forces; during a massacre by armed forces of supporters of the Islamic Movement in Zaria in December 2015.
“However, despite the fact that over 1000 innocent supporters of the Islamic Movement were butchered in the attack; not a single official has been charged or brought to trial over the killings. The massacre is currently the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court,” the letter stated.
The couple is next due to appear in court on Monday 25 January.