The leader of the Nigerian Shiite Muslims, Sheikh Zakzay, was seriously wounded during the raid of Nigerian government forces on an IMN gathering in his house in December 2015. Hundreds of Nigerian Shiites including three members of Zakzaky’s family were also martyred. He along with his wife has been held in detention since then.
An international medical team from the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) visited Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife in jail recently following arrangements made between the IMN and Nigerian government.
Having examined the health condition of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife and conducting urgent medical tests on them, the team provided a report and shared a copy of it with the lawyers and family of the cleric. In its report, the team underlined the urgent need to send the Shiite leader abroad for special treatment.
Earlier, Iran’s ambassador to Nigeria Morteza Rahimi said the lawyers and family members of Sheikh Zakzaky have already prepared a report to submit during his upcoming trial.
Based on agreements made between the two sides, Zakzaky’s trial is expected to be held soon which provides a chance for his lawyers and family to submit the mentioned report and take subsequent steps to send him abroad for medical treatment.
Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in the said raid. His wife also sustained serious wounds while more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed in the violence.
The cleric has been kept in custody along his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.
Back 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.
Zakzaky’s legal team has long called for his release, saying he is suffering from health issues that require urgent medical care abroad but the state high court in Kaduna has denied the request.
A group of medical experts and consultants, who conducted health assessments on Zakzaky and his wife earlier this month, suggested that the two need to be taken abroad without further delay for treatments.
The cleric and his wife were unable to attend a court hearing back in March this year, due to dire health conditions, according to their lawyer Femi Falana SAN.
“My clients are yet to access any form of medical attention even after the court had ordered so,” he said, referring to a court order on January 22 to avail the cleric and his wife access to medical care.