The Nigerian state of Kaduna is trying to “legitimize” further actions of massacre and abuse against a mainstream Islamic group led by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky by declaring it as illegal, says an activist.
“The reality is that what they have done is against the constitution of Nigeria and actually against the principles of freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of association,” Massoud Shadjareh, a member of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission told Press TV.
The Kaduna state government warned on Friday that those convicted of being a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) could be imprisoned for seven years, fined or both.
It further claimed that the Islamic group had “overtly continued with unlawful processions” and “obstruction of public highways” since last December when the Army forces clashed with the IMN members.
The activist also noted this move is an attempt to “criminalize” all religious gatherings and activities, adding that it gives legality to the Nigerian army to violate the rights of the ordinary people.
On December 12, 2015, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria in Kaduna, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.
The following day, Nigerian forces also raided the home of Sheikh Zakzaky, and arrested the prominent cleric after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him.
A judicial inquiry concluded in August that the Nigerian army killed 348 members of the religious community during the two-day raids.
Also commenting on the judicial inquiry, Shadjareh said nothing has been done with regard to the mass graves which hundreds of ordinary people have been buried in.
“Only the day before yesterday a judge in a court of hearing the case of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife said that the Nigerian government is behaving in a way that is destroying the democracy of Nigeria and he actually urged Nigerian security services to find the solution outside the court otherwise he has no other option but to order the release of Sheikh Zakzaky,” he stated.
Zakzaky is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”
Over the past months, Nigerians have held demonstrations across the country to demand Zakzaky’s release from jail.
Source: Press TV
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