Republic Of Iran Writes Nigeria, Requests For Release Of Shiek El-Zakzaky For Medical Treatment In Iran
The Prosecutor-General (Attorney-General) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammed Montazeri, has asked the Federal Government of Nigeria and the judiciary to allow the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Shiekh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to come to Iran for medical treatment.
According to AhlulBayt News Agency, an Iran-based news organisation, Montazeri said this in a letter on Saturday.
The Iranian official also called on the judiciary to grant bail to El-Zakzaky who is the leader of all Shi’ites in Nigeria.
Montazeri also criticised the Federal Government’s handling of the crisis, adding that El-Zakzakky’s current medical condition had become a source of worry.
The letter read in part, “I, as the prosecutor general of the Islamic Republic of Iran, urge the Nigerian judicial authorities (to take steps) in line with their judicial independence and support for a captive citizen, and provide the ground for his release and transfer him to the Islamic Republic of Iran for treatment.”
The cleric has been kept in custody along his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.
El-Zakzky’s followers have for the last two years been holding protests mainly in Abuja, calling for his immediate release.
In recent time, the protests have become more aggressive, leading to the deaths of Shi’ites, security officials and innocent Nigerians caught in the crossfire.
On Monday, a journalist, Precious Owolabi, who was a National Youth Service Corps member, was killed by a stray bullet while a Deputy Commissioner of Police also lost his life.
Back in 2016, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court ordered his unconditional release from jail following a trial but the government has so far refused to set him free.
El-Zakzaky’s legal team has long called for his release, saying he is suffering from health issues that require urgent medical care abroad but the state high court in Kaduna has denied the request.
Another bail hearing is expected to take place on Monday, July 29.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission on Thursday called for a dialogue between the Federal Government and the Shiites whose recent protest for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, led to a violent clash in which lives were lost.
A statement by the NHRC’s Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, Lambert Oparah, quoted the Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, as warning that the crisis could degenerate “into monumental human rights and humanitarian crises” if not handled peacefully.
The commission also called for the speedy trial of the couple who are facing a murder charge at the High Court of Kaduna State.
The commission regretted the death of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Federal Capital Territory Command, Usman Umar, a Channels Television journalist , Precious Owolabi, and the injury sustained by some of the protesters during Monday’s demonstrations by the Shiites.
While it “condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones,” the commission stated that “that incident calls for serious and urgent action to address the situation.”
The executive secretary reiterated the commission’s call on government and the leaders of the IMN to “consider dialogue as the best option in this conflict.”
It also quoted the executive secretary as saying, “In a crisis of this nature, human right is usually the casualty and as a national institution for the promotion and protection of human rights, we are very concerned that this conflict, if not handled peacefully, may result in monumental human rights and humanitarian crisis.”
The Federal High Court in Abuja on December 2, 2016 ordered their release from custody.