Head of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Massoud Shajareh; has accused the Nigerian government of frustrating the release of Shiites leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. Shajareh disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration have placed increased measures which have made it difficult to release Zakzaky. Further, he disclosed that the conditions have almost made the situation impossible for the incarcerated man.
Equally important, Shajareh made this disclosure in an interview with the Tehran-based Mehr news agency.
In August, a court in Kaduna state granted Zakzaky and his wife bail to seek treatment abroad. The duo touched down in Delhi, India on August 13. However, they returned to Nigeria from India after three days on the premises of unfair treatment and tough restrictions. Zakzaky alleged that the harsh treatment was meted out by security operatives deployed to the medical facility.
The leader of the Shiites movement is currently back in detention in Kaduna.
Shajareh described the chances of Zakzaky’s release by the government as ‘very low’.
‘‘The chance for his freedom is low. In the past two years, the Nigerian government has increased his pressure on Sheikh, while we expected the conditions to improve. Presently, there is no sign of improvement in their behavior with Sheikh. In general, the conditions are not going on in his favour.’’
Furthermore, he revealed that the IHRC had attempted to get Zakzaky treated in other countries. But he blamed the Nigerian government for opposing the moves.
Zakzaky, wife held under terrible conditions, says IHRC
‘‘Despite the made efforts in the long-run, we could not reach any conclusions. We sought to transfer Sheikh to a hospital in other countries than Nigeria but we did not become successful. We also attempted hard to provide documents to get him out of prison in the hope of improving his conditions.
‘‘Our efforts did not bear fruit due to the measures done by the Nigerian government. We had to negotiate the issue with different bodies and organizations but the Nigerian government put barriers on the path of the held talks.’’
Additionally, Shajareh affirms that Zakzaky is being held under terrible conditions that are worsening his health.
‘‘Yes, Zakzay has been sent to the central jail of Kaduna, Nigeria. It is worth noting that the named prison does not meet the standards to guarantee the health of the prisoners. It is among the most dangerous prisons not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
‘‘All its prisoners are dealing with terrible conditions. Sheikh was transferred to that prison while Kaduna court did not issue the order to send him to the hospital. We believe that being under tough conditions, Zakzaky had to be sent to hospital. But due to the Nigerian government’s decision, he was transferred to prison.’’
Meanwhile, the wife of the detained Islamic cleric, Zinat Ibrahim, is also facing the same conditions as her husband; with the IHRC declaring that there seems to be no hope for an improvement in her situation as well.
‘‘The chances are low for her, too. Her health conditions are tough and the put restrictions has worsened the situation for her, as well. Sheikh and his wife have been coping with terrible conditions in the prison for the past four years…Based on our estimations, their conditions are getting tougher incrementally.’’