The Human Rights Watch, HRW, has warned against what it described as “violent repression” of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, stating that the Nigerian government should hold accountable all those responsible for the crimes committed against Shiites in the country.
In a statement on its website, the HRW called for the release of the detained leader of IMN, Shiekh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and called for the protection of the IMN members against, “heavy-handed crackdown” by security operatives.
Recall that El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested on December 14, after a clash between its members and the Nigerian army in Zaria. An Abuja Federal High Court on December 2 ordered the Department of State Services, DSS, to free the Shiites leader, as well as members of his family within 45 days.
In a statement signed by its senior Nigeria researcher, Mausi Segun, HRW said, “Nigerian authorities should end their violent repression of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and free its leader. The involvement of soldiers in the Zaria incidents, and subsequent police actions against the Islamic Movement raises major questions about Nigeria’s commitment to military reform.
“Nigerian authorities should hold accountable anyone who has committed crimes against Islamic Movement members, and take immediate steps to comply with a federal court order mandating the release of Sheik El Zakzaky and his wife.
“Nigeria’s federal and state authorities should reconsider the heavy-handed crackdown against IMN members, take urgent steps to protect them, and hold those responsible for the unlawful deaths of group members to account.
“The government should carry out its law enforcement responsibilities without jeopardizing its own credibility by ignoring court decisions that rightly seek to check its agents’ excesses,” it said.