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Three shiites members died in Police custody – Amnesty International

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Amnesty International Monday called for an investigation into the death of three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) who allegedly died of gunshots wound in police custody.

“The Nigerian government must promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the deaths of the three detainees in police custody and bring to justice those suspected of wrongdoing,” director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said in a statement on Monday.

Some IMN members were arrested in July during a protest in Abuja while calling for the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife from detention. The protest turned violent which led to the death of some of the group members, police officers, and a corps member, Precious Owolabi.

Ojigho said a source disclosed to Amnesty International that a team of armed policemen rounded up 11 IMN members with gunshot wounds in University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada on July 22.

“A credible source told Amnesty International that he saw at least 15 protesters with various life-threatening gunshot wounds to their legs, stomach and hips, some of them unable to walk, in detention,” Ojigbo said.

He affirmed that three out of the protesters arrested died in the police custody. He said, “15 individuals, including two minors, have been held incommunicado at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention facility.”

“The protesters who are being held at the SARS detention facility are in critical condition and need immediate access to medical care. Any denial of such access is a violation of their human rights,” he added.

He said Amnesty International had requested to visit the detainees to verify the current condition of their detention but the police are yet to grant their request.

Ojigho demanded that the protesters should be released as they are yet to be charged to court.

El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested after a 2015 clash in which the Nigerian troops killed an estimated 350 of his followers at his compound and a nearby mosque and burial ground in Kaduna State and has remained in detention despite a court order in December 2016 to release him.

The Nigerian government on July 26, 2019, obtained a court order to label the group as a “terrorist” organisation. Human rights activists kicked against the order but the Nigerian police last Wednesday announced that it will henceforth treat the IMN protests and all forms of the procession as illegal.

A Kaduna High Court Monday granted the El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat permission to travel out of the country for medical attention.


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