Nigerians police disrupt peaceful Shiite rally to release Sheikh Zakzaky

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A rally for the release of the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was Tuesday disrupted by the Nigeria Police, a statement from the Concerned Nigerians group said.

In the statement signed by the conveners, Deji Adeyanju and Dr. John Danfulani, the group said the rally was to pressure the Federal Government to comply with the order of Justice Gabriel Kolawole for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenah from their 485 day detention.

The group said the rally was peaceful until it was disrupted by the police with water cannons, dogs and tear gas.

“This violent interruption is reprehensible, condemnable & constitutes a violation of our rights to lawful assembly as enshrined in the 1999 constitution,” they said.

“Until the interruption, people who attended the gathering had conducted themselves impeccably, lawfully and peacefully.”

“We are not deterred by these illegal & unconstitutional actions by a government that understands violence and force as its only dispute resolution mechanism. Indeed, everything looks like a nail to a government who only possesses a hammer.

“We will once again announce the date & venue to continue our agitations. And on the said date, we will again gather in exercise of our constitutional rights & freedoms,” they added.

The prominent cleric and his wife were taken into custody on December 14, 2115, after deadly clashes between the supporters of the IMN movement and Nigerian troops.

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

The judge said he had given 45 days for authorities to provide new accommodation for the Zakzaky family. The accommodation is to be in the town of Zaria, Kaduna state, where the family were detained, or in other parts of the state or alternatively any other part of northern Nigeria.

Kolawole said the State Security Service would pay each of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife $78,984 in compensation for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody for nearly a year.

Nearly 100 IMN supporters were killed when Nigerian forces fired live rounds and tear gas at mourners during a peaceful march ahead of the Arbaeen mourning rituals, which mark 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam. 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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