PRESS RELEASE - Nigeria: Arrests ensue after ban on Nigerian Islamic Movement
Arrests of worshippers and leaders underway
Tens of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have been rounded up as they attended gatherings in Kaduna city following a state-wide ban announced on the organisation last week.
According to the latest reports received by IHRC a group of 20 women were detained as they made their way to a mosque to commemorate the Islamic month of Muharram.
Given the ongoing bloody persecution of the IMN by the authorities there is genuine concern for those detained.
The state government has also issued an arrest warrant for one of the IMN's most able spokepeople, Dr. Ibrahim Musa.
Earlier this week Kaduna state government proscribed the IMN, making membership of the organisation illegal and imposing a prison term of seven years and/or an unspecified fine for those who violated it.
It was feared that the move would be the latest in a series of measures designed to cripple the IMN and prevent it from staging peaceful mass demonstrations in support of its imprisoned leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and also stymy the commemoration of Muharram which carries more significance in the Shia calendar.
The sheikh and his wife Zeenat have been in detention without charge since December last year when they were shot during an army assault on the IMN in Zaria left over 1000 people dead. Sheikh Zakzaky has already lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes and risks losing his sight altogether unless he receives the proper medical attention.
The pair are being held mostly incommunicado by Nigeria's intelligence services (DSS), against due process and in contravention of Nigerian and international law.
Dr. Musa identified himself as a spokesperson of the IMN shortly after the ban was announced in public statements condemning the decision.
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Notes to editors:
In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members.
Our report which we submitted to the ICC can be found at http://ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11646-investigating-the-attack-a...