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Back Activities Alerts URGENT ALERT: Nigeria – Demand release of hundreds detained by authorities

URGENT ALERT: Nigeria – Demand release of hundreds detained by authorities

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Tens of thousands of supporters of Sheikh Zakzaky took part in the procession in the capital today but countless others were stopped by armed forces


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Requested Action, Email addresses and Telephone Numbers
  3. Sample emails

Background

IHRC is demanding that the Nigerian authorities immediately release hundreds of people it has detained as they made their way to the capital, Abuja, to take part in a demonstration against the continued detention of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife and over 200 IMN supporters, all held since December 2015.

The call comes (see: press release) as tens of thousands of supporters of the sheikh took part in the procession in the capital today but countless others were stopped by armed forces at the entrance of the capital as they arrived in buses.

While the exact number of those stopped and detained by the army in Abuja is unclear, it is believed to be in the hundreds. Latest reports from the Free Zakzaky Movement indicate that they are being held in military barracks in the city.

Within 30 minutes of the procession starting, soldiers flanked by police fired tear gas grenades into the crowds, apparently to stop them proceeding to the Central Secretariat area where government buildings are located. When the tear gas failed to stop the procession continuing, the army started to physically stop people in the procession. It is believed that at this stage a number of people were arrested, though this is yet to be confirmed.

There are reports of injuries but their extent and number is not yet known. Reports are still coming in about the extent and nature of the police and army action.

Today's demonstration is the latest initiative in an ongoing campaign to secure the release of Sheikh Zakzaky as concerns mount over his health after more than nine months in custody without charge along with his wife Zeenah.

Both suffered gunshot wounds after a savage military assault against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) last December. Sheikh Zakzaky has already lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes and there is a real risk he could lose his sight completely if he doesn't receive the necessary medical treatment.

Despite repeated requests by the Sheikh's legal team, Nigeria's domestic intelligence agency (DSS) which is holding the sheikh, has refused to let him have access to doctors.

The military attack between December 12-14 in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria left more than 1000 people dead and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its members destroyed.

IHRC continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife, and all those held since the 12 – 14 December attacks by the army on the IMN.

Requested Action, Email addresses and Telephone Numbers

  1. Please call and encourage people to call the Nigerian Embassy in your country and register your disgust at the situation (telephone numbers here).
  1. Please email and encourage others to email the Nigerian embassy in your country and / or the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria (directory of embassies / high commissions here; address of Minister of Foreign Affairs here) demanding that the couple receive immediate medical assistance and that they are released immediately and unconditionally. For those in the USA, please email the Nigerian embassy using this form.
  1. Please email the Commonwealth Secretariat (email info@commonwealth.int) and the African Union (email form here), demanding they intercede on the couple’s behalf.

Further Contacts
- Sweden:
@EmbassyNigerian
114 27 Stockholm
Sweden
GENERAL INFORMATION: info@nigerianembassy.nu
CONSULAR MATTER: consular@nigerianembassy.nu
POSTAL: PO BOX 628
PHONE (local): (08) 246.390
INTERNATIONAL: +46.8.246.390
FAX LOCAL: (08) 246.398
INTERNATIONAL: +46.8.246.398

- USA:
@NigeriaEmbassy
Embassy of Nigeria in United States of America
3519 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel.: + 1(202) 986-8400
Fax: + 1(202) 775-1385

- Nigerian Embassy in the Netherlands
- Nigerian Embassy in Pakistan

Please send any responses to IHRC on info@ihrc.org.

Sample emails

  1. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama / Nigerian Ambassador or High Commissioner in your country

The same draft can be used for either or both recipients

To the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria / Ambassador of Nigeria (or Nigerian High Commissioner) in your country

Dear [INSERT NAME],

I am writing to express my deep concern about the continued detention of Mu’allim Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, Mallima Zeenah and many hundreds more members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

In particular I am deeply distressed to hear that hundreds have been detained as they were making their way to Abuja to take part in a demonstration on 22 September 2016 against the continued detention of Mu’allim Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, Mallima Zeenah and over 200 IMN supporters. Within 30 minutes of the procession starting, soldiers flanked by police fired tear gas grenades into the crowds, apparently to stop them proceeding to the Central Secretariat area where government buildings are located. When the tear gas failed to stop the procession continuing, the army started to physically stop people in the procession.

This new round of detention and ill-treatment is a stain on the reputation of Nigeria that cannot easily be forgotten.

Yours sincerely,

Your name

  1. Letter to Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Honourable Patricia Scotland QC (emailinfo@commonwealth.int)/ Chairperson of African Union Idriss Déby (email using this form

Dear [INSERT NAME],

I am writing to express my deep concern about the continued detention of Mu’allim Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, Mallima Zeenah and many hundreds more members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

In particular I am deeply distressed to hear that hundreds have been detained as they were making their way to Abuja to take part in a demonstration on 22 September 2016 against the continued detention of Mu’allim Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, Mallima Zeenah and over 200 IMN supporters. Within 30 minutes of the procession starting, soldiers flanked by police fired tear gas grenades into the crowds, apparently to stop them proceeding to the Central Secretariat area where government buildings are located. When the tear gas failed to stop the procession continuing, the army started to physically stop people in the procession.

This new round of detention and ill-treatment is a stain on the reputation of Nigeria that cannot easily be forgotten.

Yours sincerely,

Your name

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."

Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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