Nigeria: Shiites Flay Police for Allegedly Denying Detained Protesters Food, Treatment

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has alleged that the Police high command have denied food and treatment to 115 arrested members who protested against the continued detention of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky in Abuja.

The group, otherwise known as Shiites, insisted that its members would not relent in their demand for the release of ailing El-Zakzaky from detention.

It added that the arrested protesters in police custody were denied the freedom to observe the five daily prayers mandatory for Muslims.

In a statement yesterday in Kaduna by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, he said: "After their arrest, some of their relatives visited the detainees at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters in Abuja, carrying food items to them, but they were denied access.

"When they enquired why they were being refused food and medical treatment, the Police officers told them that it was an order from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Bello."

Musa said even the food items taken to the detainees, among whom are 15 women and underage children, were not served to them yesterday, adding it seems the police officers were using hunger to torture them, which was against international law and practice.

"A lawyer contacted on the issue who pleaded anonymity has confided to us that there was no law in the country that empowers the IGP and his officers to deny detainees food, unless they want them to die of hunger," he added.

Musa further argued that stopping the detainees from observing their prayers was the height of depravity, saying the Nigeria Police should explain to the world their source of authority for doing so.

"We wish to reaffirm our stand and demand that our leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky should be released from the illegal detention," he stated.

Meanhwile, members of the free El Zakzaky movement, which has been holding at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, yesterday said they remained resolute and would continue the protests until their leader was released.

Their resolve followed after more than 80 days of peaceful protest and sit-outs, most of which had turned violent

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