Nigerian court accused of delaying Sheikh Zakzaky's treatment
Story Code : 807878
Sheikh Zakzaky was scheduled to appear in court on Monday, but the court in the northern city of Kaduna adjourned the bail hearing until August 5.
Femi Falana, Zakzaky's lawyer, said eight medical reports attached to the bail application showed that Zakazy needed urgent medical attention in Egypt.
"Doctors have confirmed that he has lost an eye and the second one may be lost on account of advanced glaucoma. Secondly, pellets in his body have not been removed," said Falana, adding that the pellets - shrapnel from the 2015 clash - were causing lead poisoning, having been in his body for four years.
Supporters and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) — which Sheikh Zakzaky heads — say the adjournment is a deliberate ploy to drag out proceedings so that the ailing sheikh’s condition deteriorates to the point of no return.
'Adjournment ridiculous, benefits those who want Zakzaky dead'
Meanwhile, the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), has also expressed concern over the deteriorating health conditions of the Nigerian Muslim leader.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “This adjournment for one more week has gone beyond ridiculous. The court knows that the sheikh’s health is critical. It has to do the right thing which is to serve justice and stop politicking for the benefit of those who want to see Sheikh Zakzaky dead.”
Nigerian authorities had earlier this month promised to issue international passports to the sheikh and his wife so they could leave the country in order to receive medical attention. However they have since backtracked on their assurances prompting the pair’s lawyers to seek their release through the courts.
In a recent letter to the United Nations, dozens of Western intellectuals called on UN chief, Antonio Guterres, to pressure Nigeria to release the senior Muslim figure. They also urged the world body to take concrete action against ongoing violations being committed against scholars and rights campaigners by Nigerian authorities and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Earlier this month, Zakzaky’s son, Mohammad, said after visiting him that he was shocked by his father’s worsening medical condition. Mohammad said large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium had been found in Zakzaky's blood and the cleric needed to be immediately hospitalized.
The IMN says the cleric has been poisoned in prison and requires urgent medical care abroad. It says the group would hold President Buhari responsible “if anything should happen to Zakzaky or his wife in detention.”
Members of the IMN regularly take to the streets of Abuja to call for his release. In recent weeks, dozens of demonstrators have been killed after Nigerian troops used live ammunition and tear gas to curb the protest rallies. The group said on Friday at least 20 people had died in clashes last week.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015, after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigerian forces, during which he was beaten and lost his left eye. Three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed in the brutal crackdown, while his wife sustained serious wounds.
Muktar Aabdulrahman Auwal, a spokesman for IMN, told reporters at an event on Sunday that President Buhari was behind the Nigerian army’s massacre of the Muslims supporting Sheikh Zakzaky in the northern city of Zaria.
In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.