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Muslim scholars call for release of Nigerian cleric Sheikh Zakzaky

Yusef Jalali 
Press TV, Tehran


Five years have passed since more than one thousand Muslims were killed in a massacre in the Nigerian city of Zaria.

The incident took place when the Nigerian army stormed a religious ceremony, organized by Nigeria's Islamic Movement, which represents the Shia Muslim minority in the country.

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the massacre, Iran's holy city of Qom held a webinar attended by Muslim scholars to commemorate the victims of the tragedy.

Not only has the Nigerian government refrained from paying compensation for the lives it has taken, it has also incarcerated followers of the movement and their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, whose health is deteriorating in prison. Scholars in Qom describe the Nigerian government as the puppet of Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel.

They say the Nigerian forces have  continued the brutal assault against Sheikh Zakzaky's supporters ever since they publicly condemned Israel for its atrocities against the Palestinian people.

In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.

Zakzaky was charged in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other accusations. He has vehemently rejected all these accusations.

Sheikh Zakzaky was due to appear in court in September this year to face judgement on an application asking for the dismissal of the case against him, but the trial was adjourned to next January, something that observers say could put Sheikh's life at risk amid calls for his immediate release because of his deteriorating health in jail.

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