TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi welcomed the Nigerian government’s move to allow a medical team to visit and examine Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the Shiite community in the West African country.
In a statement released on Saturday, Mousavi hailed the Nigerian government’s move to let the medical team provide treatment for Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife as “positive”.
He further expressed hope that with the full treatment of Zakzaky and his wife inside or outside Nigeria, the process of constructive talks between officials of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian government will result in the settlement of problems and the release of the top cleric.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since December 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.