Nigeria court rejects Shiite cleric's rights suit

(iStock)
(iStock)

Kano - A Nigerian court has thrown out a suit brought by a prominent pro-Iranian Shiite cleric against the military for human rights violations, lawyers in the case told AFP Friday.

Ibrahim Zakzaky was seeking two $5.6 million in damages over clashes with troops in 2015 that left some 350 of his followers dead in the northern city of Zaria.

The cleric himself was injured and his been in custody ever since. Three of his children were killed and his house was destroyed.

Lawyer Dari Bayero, representing the military, said the case in Kaduna was struck out for abuse of process, "as the same suit was determined by another federal high court in Abuja".

"The court said the plaintiff (Zakzaky) cannot sue in piecemeal on the same issue at different courts but should consolidate their case in one court," he added.

But Zakzaky's lawyer, Haruna Magashi, argued the two cases were fundamentally different and they were studying the judgment before deciding whether to appeal.

"The case before the Abuja federal high court pertains to illegal detention without trial of my client by the DSS (Department of State Services)," he said.

"This particular one is about enforcement of human rights, which by law can only be filed at a court within whose jurisdiction the crime was committed."

Zakzaky, who leads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has spent nearly 18 months in custody since the clashes on December 14 2015.

A public inquiry in Kaduna state was told in April last year that nearly 350 IMN supporters were buried in a mass grave, backing up similar claims from human rights groups.

Zakzaky was shot and injured, leaving him partly paralysed and blind in one eye.

Nigeria's military has rejected the death toll and claim they are holding the cleric in "protective custody".

Last December, an Abuja court called the detention of Zakzaky and his followers illegal and unconstitutional and imposed a 45-day deadline for their release.

The government appealed the judgement.

Meanwhile, 100 IMN members who were arrested during the unrest in 2015 are standing trial for the alleged murder of a soldier killed in the violence.

IMN, which seeks to effect an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in the country's Sunni Muslim-majority north, has been in conflict with the Nigerian government for years.

Zakzaky has periodically been imprisoned for alleged incitement and subversion.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7087 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2079 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 8537 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.56
(-0.1)
GBP/ZAR
20.04
(+0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.33
(-0.2)
AUD/ZAR
11.10
(-0.2)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+0.0)
Gold
1,729.90
(-0.2)
Silver
25.00
(+0.7)
Platinum
1,175.00
(+0.1)
Brent Crude
63.28
(+0.5)
Palladium
2,708.50
(+1.1)
All Share
66,633
(+0.4)
Top 40
60,921
(+0.4)
Financial 15
12,204
(+0.5)
Industrial 25
86,836
(+0.3)
Resource 10
67,526
(+0.5)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo