Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister of justice has explained why the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria was not released along with former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and the publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore.
Abubakar Malami insisted that the Nigerian government is not holding El Zakzaky. He said he is facing trial in a suit brought against him by Kaduna State.
A high court in the state has ordered his release but the government refused to obey the order. Instead, more charges were brought against him.
The justice minister said the Federal Government has no right to order his release like Dasuki and Sowore since the case is between El Zakzaky and Kaduna. Sowore and Dasuki were released on Tuesday.
The leader of the pro-Iran Shiite group Ibrahim El Zakzaky and his wife have been held by the government since December 2015 following a violent clash between members of his group and Nigerian troops in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Amnesty International said about 350 Shiites were killed by the Nigerian troops.
The group has had several violent clashes with Nigerian security authorities in subsequent years.
“More than 150 more IMN members were subsequently killed in Kaduna, Jos, Bauchi Sokoto, Funtua and Abuja,” Amnesty International said.