Tehran: Prominent Iranian Religious Authority Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani condemned the imprisonment and torture of top Islamic cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, whose health condition has been deteriorating in prison.
“This Mujahid (one who strives in the cause of God) scholar (Sheikh Zakzaky) has been deprived of his basic rights and has long been imprisoned and tortured under false claims,” Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani said in a message released in Qom.
The Iranian cleric further slammed international circles’ silence on the issue and said, “The false advocates of human rights have turned a blind eye to these crimes and chosen a deadly silence…”
International organizations have also lost their identity by their silence on this crime and have become “useless” organizations, he added.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since 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.