Nigerian Authorities Urge Prosecution of Sheikh Zakzaky

Nigerian Authorities Urge Prosecution of Sheikh Zakzaky

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Authorities in a Nigerian state have called for the prosecution of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky who was recently ordered to be released after nearly a year of detention without trial.

The government of Kaduna State on Monday said Zakzaky should be put on trial for the alleged "lawlessness" of his group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), for the past 30 years.

In October, authorities in the state declared the mainstream Shiite group as illegal as part of the state crackdown against the Muslim community. On Monday, the Kaduna government accused the group of "allegiance to a foreign power."

The news comes few days after the federal high court of Nigeria ruled that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, should be released unconditionally.

The prominent cleric and his wife were taken into custody on December 14, 2015, after deadly clashes between the supporters of the IMN movement and Nigerian troops.

Nearly 350 members of the Shiite movement were killed in the clashes. The sheikh was brutally injured and his house was reportedly destroyed by the army in the incident.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole said he had given 45 days for authorities to provide new accommodation for the Zakzaky family. The judge also said the state security service would pay Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife $78,984 each in compensation for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody for nearly a year.

Monday’s call could threaten the release of Zakzaky as the Kaduna government could bring charges against him, according to Press TV. 

Last month, nearly 100 IMN supporters were killed when Nigerian forces fired live rounds and tear gas at mourners during a peaceful march ahead of the Arba’een mourning rituals. Authorities also destroyed a number of buildings belonging to the IMN.

The Nigerian government has stepped up its crackdown on the IMN since the December 2015 deadly incident.

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