Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is supposed to have left the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to India for medical treatment.
This follows the order of the Kaduna State High court granting El-Zakzaky and his wife leave to undergo treatment at an Indian hospital of their choice. The order came after the couple had spent over three years in custody.
The court had ordered that they should be released by the Department of State Services to go for treatment and return for the continuation of their trial after their discharge from the hospital.
Among other conditions, the state government had demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must confirm the appointments of the IMN leader and his wife with the Medanta Hospital, India, and undertake all necessary diplomatic arrangements and protocols to ensure compliance with the conditions of the medical leave.
It also said the FG must obtain from the Indian government an irrevocable guarantee that it would not entertain any application by the defendants/applicants or any third party seeking asylum under any guise or conferring the status of political prisoners or any other status aside from being medical patients on the defendants/applicants.
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is an imprisoned outspoken and prominent Shi’a Muslim leader in Nigeria. He is the head of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement, a movement that he founded in the late 1970s, when he was a student at Ahmadu Bello University, and began propagating Shia Islam at the time of the Iranian revolution—which saw Iran’s monarchy overthrown and replaced with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini.
Zakzaky believed that the establishment of a republic along similar religious lines in Nigeria would be feasible. He has been detained several times due to accusations of civil disobedience or recalcitrance under military regimes in Nigeria during the 1980s and 1990s, and is still viewed with suspicion or as a threat by Nigerian authorities.