Lagos-based eminent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana on Tuesday requested for what he termed the unconditional release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenat Ibraheem from unlawful detention.
The senior lawyer in a letter dated April 5, 2016, and addressed to the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), insisted that his clients were denied access to their family and doctors since their arrest.
The SAN explained that the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai on December 12, 2015, ordered thousands of armed soldiers to unleash violent attacks on IMN members in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Falana maintained that his clients were not at the scene of the attack when the troops invaded their residence at Wali Street, Zaria last December 14.
According to the SAN, ‘The troops set the building ablaze and killed three of our clients’ children in their presence and thereby subjected them to untold mental agony.
‘Thereafter, the armed soldiers shot our clients several times. As a result of the brutal attack, Sheik Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one.
‘While in custody, both of them have gone through many surgical operations to extract bullets from their bodies. To compound the physical pain and mental anguish my clients were subjected to, the police and the DSS have held them incommunicado for over three months.
‘During a similar attack in 2014 allegedly by a detachment of the Army, three of Zakzaky’s children were also killed without any lawful justification.
‘The report of the fact-finding Commission of Enquiry set up by the government was yet to be released, while the military personnel who allegedly killed my clients’ children and other unarmed civilians have not been brought to justice.
‘Some of the victims, who survived the deadly attacks, have been charged with culpable homicide and sundry offences by the Kaduna State Government.
‘Notwithstanding that such criminal charges are pending at the Kaduna High Court, the Kaduna State Government has set up a judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the same subject matter.
‘Even though our clients have not been told that they breached any law, they have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physicians, and family members for over three months.
‘Our clients were only permitted to meet with us last Friday after several requests made by us had been turned without any legal basis.
‘In the light of the foregoing, our clients and members of the IMN have resolved not to participate in the proceedings of the said Judicial Commission of Enquiry in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.
‘Finally, we hereby demand the immediate and unconditional release of our clients from illegal detention within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter.’