FREED! 18th December 1998

See IHRC Press Release

Help Free All Political Detainees in Nigeria

LAST UPDATED: 26 August 1998.

Welcome to the Free Al-Zakzaky! homepage.

Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky is the leader of Nigeria's Muslim opposition. He was arrested in September 1996 with several others and detained without charge until August this year. In August, he and three others (now known as the Zaria Four) were charged with creating disaffection against the government (treason), for printing the statement, that there is no sovereignty except through God. Since September last year, supporters of Al-Zakzaky have been arrested and held without charge, sentenced without due process, raped and harassed.

For more information on the campaign please visit the links below. For the latest information please read on.

List of detainees from Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria
Images of the genocide in Nigeria
PRISONERS OF FAITH Index of some more cases from around the world
A mother's story: the harassment of the Al-Zakzaky family.:


August 27, 1998. Thanks to the concerted campaigning of volunteers the world over, Zeenah Ibrahim, her six children and the other women and children arrested in April, have been released. The judge at their bail hearing referred to the letters received from around the world, when he released them pending trial.

However, despite the release of so many Christian and secular prisoners of conscience after the death of General Sani Abacha, no members of the Islamic opposition have been released. We are asking campaigners to step up their campaign for the release of Mu’allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, the focus for all Islamic opposition in Nigeria, and all prisoners held unjustly by the Nigerian regime. Please write to the Foreign Minister in your country, and the High Commisioner / Ambassador for Nigeria in your country.

Please let us know of your responses. Many thanks. IHRC.[END]

29 May 1998


(IHRC, Lon)The wife of Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky wa released today together with her six children aged between 16 months, and 11 years. Members of the Zakzaky household, as well as those of Hamidu Danlami one of the Zaria Four, and other women with children were also released on bail.

In total 9 women and 16 children were charged with insulting the President, General Sani Abacha. Whilst granting the detainees bail, the judge critised police, stating that the whole world was complaining about these detentions. Zeenah Ibrahim has sent her thanks to all those who campaigned for her release. At one point her youngest child, Emad, 16 months old, had measles, and was refused medication by their jailors.


......VOA HAUSA SERVICE..... Extract 18, May 1998:

Meanwhile, the case against members of the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to continue today. Last week Monday, 8 members of the organization including the lieutenant of Ibrahim el-Zaky Zaky, Malam Mohammadu Turi appeared before a federal court in Kaduna. They are charged with the murder of a police officer in Sheikh Mahmud Gumi market in Kaduna in 1996. If found guilty they are to face a death sentence. On the day of their appearance in the court audio and visual evidence were presented by the police. The accused have pleaded not guilty and argued that they could not have killed a police officer because they were not armed. They suggested that the said officer died from a gun shot by another member of the police force.

The case against Sheikh el-Zaky Zaky is expected to continue at the end of the month.

Nigerian police put down more protests

21 April 1998

Web posted at: 20:47 SAT, Johannesburg time (18:47 GMT)

KADUNA, Nigeria, April 21 (Reuters) - Nigerian police said on Tuesday they had put down overnight protests by Muslims in the northern city of Kaduna but they could not confirm any deaths.

The Muslim Brotherhood were protesting against the arrest of the wife and children of detained preacher Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky said up to 12 of their members had been shot dead in a second night of violence. At least three were killed on Sunday.

"It was only with teargas that the protest was stopped," Kaduna State Police Commissioner Yakubu Shuaibu told reporters.

"Some people died, about 12 men," said a spokesman in hiding in a working class district of the city. He said they had been unable to retrieve the bodies after police opened fire in the dark.

Police said a large number of arrests had been made and more were taking place. The Muslim Brotherhood said dozens, including women and children, had been arrested.

Kaduna was tense on Tuesday as armed police patrolled the streets, but shops and businesses reopened and there were no more reports of violence.

El-Zak-Zaky has been detained since 1996 for causing public disaffection against the military government of General Sani Abacha and has appeared in court several times. He is due to appear again on May 6.


20.4.98 (IHRC, London)

Urgent Action Required

Fears for safety of activists and families

Nine women and sixteen children were arrested by Nigerian police on Friday 17th April in the northern town of Zaria. Among them was Zeenah Ibrahim the wife of political prisoner and Muslim leader Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, and five of their six children aged between 17 months and 10 years of age. Also arrested were the wife and children of Hamidu Danlami, a Muslim publisher, also imprisoned for political reasons.

Protests on Sunday 19th April in the northern town of Kaduna saw 18,000 protestors demonstrate against the arrests. Ten were killed as police opened fire on the demonstration. Two of those killed were bystanders. The other eight were members of the Muslim Brotherhood the Islamic movement which Al-Zakzaky heads. At the funerals held today, police forcibly dispersed mourners, including women and children.

Both Al-Zakzaky and Danlami, are part of the Zaria Four arrested in September 1996, and eventually charged with sedition in August 1997. The arrests are seen as attempts to intimidate the Zaria Four into pleading guilty. All four have staunchly defended their right to free speech.

Please help campaign for the release of Zeenah Ibrahim, her children and all those arrested simply because they are Muslim. Please write to your Foreign Secretary, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Nigerian Ambassador / High Commissioner in your country, and Mary Robinson, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights. The addresses for many of these and more details on the plight of the Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria, are available on the HOW TO CAMPAIGN page.

You can also e-mail us at, or call us on (+44) 181 931 1919


13th February 1998 (IHRC, Lon)

Lats night at approximately 2 a.m. Nigerian police carried out a house to house search of residences of members known to be members of the Islamic movement in the Tudun Wada district of Kaduna, northern Nigeria.

In a new escalation of police harassment and brutality, a number of Muslims were abducted by police. Malame Maryam, the wife of Malam Shuaibu who was absent at the time, was taken away. Also abducted were Malam Maude, his wife Asabe and their child. Malam Awwal Muhammad was reportedly shot in the leg and manhandled before being taken away.

Malam Shaibu was arrested when he went to the police station to find the whereabouts of his wife. He is still detained.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission condemns these actions, and is calling on the Nigerian police to release these and all prisoners of faith.

11th February 1998 (IHRC, Lon)

The trial of the Zaria Four was adjourned once more this week. On Monday 9th February the trial was rescheduled to resume, however the judge failed to appear. On Tuesday, Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky speaking for himself and his three co-accused, refused to give testimony, unless the arresting officer was also subpoenaed to give evidence.

Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky has been imprisoned since September 1996, together with three others. Al_Zakzaky is the leader of Nigeria's Islamic opposition. The four were charged late last year with sedition, based on the publication of an article quoting Al-Zakzaky as saying there is no sovereignty except through Allah. The trial of the four has been adjourned almost every month since August 1997.

Their trial is scheduled to resume in mid-late March.

31st January 1998
FIVE YOUTHS KILLED IN PROTESTS Youths pushing for the release of a jailed Muslim leader clashed with police in Katsina, northern Nigeria, the Lagos Guardian newspaper said Saturday. Five deaths were reported.

Demonstrators demanded the release of imprisoned Muslim leader Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky, who has been accused of sedition by the military government for broadcasting provocative literature.

Many youths also were demanding that Nigeria take diplomatic steps against the United States, which they accuse of provoking war with Iraq, the Lagos Guardian reported.

Initial reports said two people were killed, including a policeman, but on Saturday several Nigerian papers reported three additional deaths. There were no reports of injuries during a similar protest Friday in the northern city of Kano.

AP-NY-01-31-98 1742EST

---------------------------------------- 4 NOVEMBER, 1997This week the trial of the Zaria Four was set to resume, after another adjournment. The prosecution attempted to bring new charges, but Al-Zakzaky speaking on behalf of the four, refused to accept them. The trial has been adjourned once more until 15/16 December 1997. The Four refused bail in August unless all detainees (numbering then in the region of 1,000) were released.


House of imprisoned Muslim leader raided during children's lessons today, and further raid threatened.

The house of Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, leader of the Muslim opposition in Nigeria, was raided today at 4.30 p.m. local time. Police forces entered the premises during the tuition of five of Al-Zakzaky's six children (all aged under 12). Al-Zakzaky's oldest son Muhammad (12) has previously been beaten severely by police forces. A further raid was threatened again without any reason, by police who arrested a passer-by for enquiring after the family.

The Free Al-Zakzaky! campaign strongly condemns the latest attempts by the Nigerian junta to brutally silence its opposition. Chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, said today regarding the Commonwealth Heads of Government:

"It is clear that the Commonwealth's lack of determined action has given a green light to Sani Abacha's regime to clamp down even more viciously against anyone it sees as a threat. In this case the threat was from six children and their mother. The Commonwealth's actions after all its deliberations is disappointing in the extreme, and we call on individual governments to take a firm and principles stance in the case of Al-Zakzaky and all political prisoners."

Al-Zakzaky and three others face charges of causing disaffection against the government. They were arrested in September 1996 and only charged in August this year. The publication of the statement by Al-Zakzaky that there is no sovereignty except through God, is the basis of the charges. Their trial, which was scheduled to resume last week, was postponed for another two weeks to allow the prosecution to bring further 'evidence' and charges against the four. IHRC sees this as yet another abuse of the judicial process by the Nigerian authorities who have been persecuting the Muslim opposition in Nigeria, and is calling for the unconditional release of all political prisoners of whatever racial, confessional or political background.

October 17, 1997: The trial of Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, Hamidu Danlami, Abubakr Abdullahi, and Muhammad Shittu, otherwise known as the Zaria Four,. will resume next week.
IHRC notes with extreme concern that the charges of treason against the four remain, despite internal speculation that the charges would be reduced. All four deny the charges.

The British, Canadian and New Zealand governments have all started enquiring about the plight of our brothers as a result of the letter writing campaign, but it’s not enough. The list of prisoners increases daily, atrocities grow in their scale and frequency. Please write to your government, and the Nigerian Embassy / High Commission in your country asking for the immediate release of all prisoners of faith, and an end to all atrocities. Please also write to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria where Mu’allim Al-Zakzaky is being imprisoned. Please also write to Mu’allim Al-Zakzaky at Port Harcourt Prison, Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria. The Free Al-Zakzaky! campaign works through the Islamic Human Rights Commission has produced two reports on the situation since September 1996, as well as co-ordinating a letter writing campaign. Our second report was submitted to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, upon request. It will be available on this site from 5.6.97. IHRC has also organised a number of vigils outside the Nigerian High Commission, Nigeria House, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK, WC2N 5BX to call for the release of all those held without charge or fair trial, and to call for justice in Nigeria. If you think you can help even in a small way, wherever you are in the world, please contact us. Before you forget, or find you have other things to do, please look at the pictures on the genocide in Nigeria page. On 13.9.96 10,000 Nigerians protested peacefully at the arrest of Mu'allim Al-Zakzaky. Over forty were killed as mobile police units opened fire on protesters. The youngest shaheed was baby Abu Bakr only three years old. His four month old sister was shot in the arm. Their mother said that afternoon, "Alhamdulillah. Insha Allah we will continue our struggle against injustice in Nigeria." Ameen. Please spare some time for the people who have given their all for Islam.

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