TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Groups of university students among other people gathered in front of Nigeria’s embassy in Tehran Wednesday to condemn the inhuman incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
The protesters carried pictures of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and some placards with some written slogans in English to express their objection to the continued imprisonment by the Nigerian government.
The demonstrators chanted slogans, requesting UN authorities to break their silence regarding the "barbaric behavior” toward Sheikh Zakzaky.
Sheikh Zakzaky, now in his mid-sixties, has been held in detention since December 2015. He was charged in April 2018 with unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, allegations rejected by the IMN.
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.
Prominent Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani on Wednesday condemned the imprisonment and torture of Sheikh Zakzaky, whose health condition has been deteriorating in prison.
"This Mujahid (one who strives in the cause of God) scholar has been deprived of his basic rights and imprisoned and tortured under false claims,” Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani said in a message.
The Iranian cleric further slammed international silence on the injustice, saying "he false advocates of human rights have turned a blind eye to these crimes and chosen a deadly silence”.
Sheikh Zakzaky 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.
His wife also sustained serious wounds 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.
On Tuesday, at least one person lost his life and several others were injured when Nigerian troops opened fire on protesters demanding the release Sheikh Zakzaky in the northern Kaduna state.
Dozens of supporters of the cleric took to the streets again, a week after the army brutally attacked protesters with live bullets and tear gas canisters.
Troops fired shots at the demonstrators, killing at least one person and injuring two others.
Zakzaky’s legal team has long called for his release, saying he is suffering from health issues that require urgent medical care abroad but the state high court in Kaduna has denied the request.