Four years ago, in December 2015 the Nigerian army attacked the Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah and subsequently Sheikh Zakzaky’s residence and Dar Alrahma. They inhumanely massacred over a thousand murdering infants and dumping the bodies in mass graves. They went on to demolish all the buildings and in Dar Alrahma where many martyrs are buried, other than demolishing all the structures there, they also exhumed some of the graves.
All these atrocities committed as the army claimed, were in response to an alleged assassination attempt on the chief of army staff, which by now its more than clear that it was indeed an orchestrated plan to kill Sheikh Zakzaky and as many of his followers as possible, in an attempt to end the Islamic movement. Since then, Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife Malama Zeenah and many others have been unjustly detained and the government continues to clamp down on all legal attempts made to seek their freedom, continuing to attack and kill more people in the various peaceful protests and gatherings by the adherents of the movement and in some cases, even hiring mobs to butcher people.
In December 2016, a federal high court in Nigeria declared the detention of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife illegal and ordered for their immediate unconditional release which was shamelessly disregarded by the government. Almost 2 years after their detention the Kaduna state government charged them with some trumped-up offenses, in an attempt which is no more than a delay tactic to kill them slowly.
Their health continues to deteriorate as they were terribly injured during the massacre and that has also continuously been neglected by the government which lead to Sheikh having multiple mild strokes and Malama could barely walk due to her ailing conditions. Recently it was discovered that the Sheikh has lead and cadmium poisoning, in addition to several other ailments that they are both suffering from. This has lead to more intensified pressures on the government which may have influenced the court’s decision to grant them leave to seek medical care in India, after it was confirmed they couldn’t get the adequate care they need in Nigeria. The trip was merely to be supervised by the DSS, unfortunately, it was sabotaged by the authorities, for which they were unable to receive any treatments there and were actually taken back to Nigeria.
Since their return over four months back, Shaikh Zakzaky and his wife haven’t been receiving the care they are in need of, and access to their legal counsel and doctors have been blocked. To make matters worse, instead of the government to at least release them to appropriate medical facilities, disturbingly the same court that confirmed the urgency of their health care has now made a ruling to transfer them to the Kaduna state Prison on 5th December 2019.
To our surprise also, they were moved there on the same day, and we are currently unaware of their conditions in the prison. This is an extremely alarming turn of events to decide to move them to the harsh conditions of a prison in which several detainees have been moved out of, on account of their even much less severe health conditions. More pressure, therefore, needs to be put on the Nigerian government to release them unconditionally and to end the inhumanity and grievous injustices.
Office of Sayyid Zakzaky,
8th December 2018.