Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, says Ibrahim El-zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, and his wife Zainab, may die if not allowed to travel abroad for urgent medical attention.
El-zakzaky and his wife have remained in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since December 2015, following a clash between soldiers and members of the IMN, also known as Shiites.
More than 300 members of the IMN were killed in that clash and at least one soldier lost his life.
Falana, El-zakzaky’s lawyer wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, titled ‘Fresh request for the release of Sheik Ibraheem El-zakzaky and Hajia Zainab El-zakzaky’, in which he urged the President to use his powers and order his client’s release.
“Sheik El-zakzaky already lost his left eye and he is on the verge of losing the right eye sequel to the brutal treatment meted out to him by the armed soldiers,” Falana’s letter read.
“The State Security Service has denied him foreign medical treatment recommended by the local specialists who had attended to him.
“Even the alternative arrangement put in place by the family of the Sheik to bring eye specialists from abroad to treat him in custody has equally been rejected without any legal justification.”
Falana said that the health condition of El-zakzaky’s wife is even worse as pellets from gunshot wounds she sustained during the 2015 attack.
“For reasons best known to the State Security Service, some of the bullets lodged in her body during the brutal attack of December 14, 2015, have not been extracted up till now,” Falana said.
“In the circumstances, she has been subjected to excruciating pain and agony, on a daily basis.
“Her life which is currently in danger may be saved and prolonged if she is allowed to receive adequate medical attention without any further delay.”
Falana reminded Buhari that in December 2016, the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of the couple, awarded them N50 million in damages and directed the federal government to provide them a temporary accommodation.
“Therefore, they should be allowed to regain their fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”, Falana said.