IHRC has written to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the health of the ailing leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

The sheikh suffered a stroke earlier this month aggravating an already poor state of health and prompting supporters to ask that he be freed from detention to receive medical treatment.

Last week IHRC wrote again to the Nigerian President Obasanjo Buhari asking him to intervene to secure Sheikh Zakzaky’s release. To date no reply has been forthcoming.

In the letter to the High Commissioner George Adesola Oguntade, IHRC urges him to allow the sheikh to travel abroad to receive specialist care.

Sheikh Zakzaky remains in the custody of the State Security Services, held without charge, along with his wife Zeenah since being detained over two years ago during a savage assault on his movement’s supporters by the armed forces.

The pair have been held mainly incommunicado following their arrest during the attack against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in December 2015. Both were shot during the attack in Zaria in which at least 1000 IMN supporters, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.

In December 2016 courts ordered the Zakzakys’ release saying it was illegal and unconstitutional but the DSS continues to stubbornly defy the order.

Sheikh Zakzaky has already lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes and even before the stroke there was a real risk he could lose his sight completely if he didn’t receive the necessary medical treatment.

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Notes to editors:

The letter can be read in full here.