SHAFAQNA- Tasnim: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged by an Iranian human rights group to pressure Nigeria to release top Shiite cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.
“The oppressed, pacifist Sheikh (Zakzaky) has millions of faithful fans and if his life is threatened, peace and security would be endangered,” the Beautiful Peace Institute said in a letter to Guterres released on Saturday.
“Do not let peace, security and human rights, which are pillars of the United Nations’ system, be shaken under the shadow of your silence,” the letter read.
The human rights group called on the UN chief to push for immediate treatment and release of the top Shiite cleric.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since December 2015 and was charged just in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty.
In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
The top cleric, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.
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