El-Zakzaky: Nigeria must probe deaths of IMN protesters in police custody - Amnesty Int'l

El-Zakzaky: Nigeria must probe deaths of IMN protesters in police custody - Amnesty Int'l

- Amnesty International (AI) has called for probe into the alleged deaths of some IMN members in police custody

- The international organisation also asked the Nigerian government to give urgent and adequate medical care to 15 others who need treatment after sustaining life-threatening gunshot wounds

- AI also want the investigate the alleged killing of IMN 11 protesters, deputy commissioner of police Usman Umar and Channels TV reporter, Precious Owolabi during the July 22 protest

Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday, August 6, called on the Nigerian government to immediately investigate the deaths of no fewer than three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) who died from gunshot wounds while in police custody.

The international organisation also called for urgent and adequate medical care to 15 others who need treatment for life-threatening gunshot wounds.

It also called for an independent and impartial inquiry into the July 22, protest especially the alleged killing of IMN 11 protesters, deputy commissioner of police Usman Umar and Channels TV reporter, Precious Owolabi.

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AI noted that “only an independent investigation can determine those responsible for the violence and avoidable deaths that occurred and allow for prosecution of those responsible in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”

Osai Ojigho, AI's director in Nigeria, said: “The 15 individuals, including two minors, have been held incommunicado at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention facility since July 22, following a government crackdown on IMN supporters protesting against their leader’s detention. The three who died, after being denied medical treatment for their injuries, are understood to have died between the date of their detention and July 24.

“We have information confirming that three protesters died of gunshot wounds at a detention facility in Abuja after being denied medical treatment. Their deaths while in police custody sends a chilling message about the authorities’ use of lethal force to stifle dissent and their contempt for peoples’ right to access medical care.

“The protesters who are being held at the SARS detention facility are in critical condition and need immediate access to medical care. Any denial of such access is a violation of their human rights. The Nigerian authorities must not allow more people to die in police custody before they act.”

Ojigho alleged that eye witnesses said a team of policemen stormed the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada and took away 11 patients with gunshot wounds, most of them IMN members, who were receiving treatment at the hospital.

“Witnesses told Amnesty International that a team of armed policemen in two Hilux vehicles arrived at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, about 5.30pm, on July 22 and rounded up 11 patients with gunshot wounds, most of them IMN members who were brought to the hospital earlier in the day,” Ojigho said.

READ ALSO: NAIJ.com upgrades to Legit.ng: a letter from our Editor-in-Chief Bayo Olupohunda

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, IMN's leader, and his wife Zaeenat were currently working towards getting new travel passports.

A source within the organisation said the duo had started a process of obtaining new international passport to enable them travel to India for medical treatment.

The source said the passports of El-Zakzaky and his wife were burnt during the crisis in Zaria, Kaduna state which led to their arrest in December 2015.

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