In a letter to Nigerian judicial officials released on Saturday, Montazeri condemned the Nigerian military for its moves against Sheikh Zakzaky, whose health condition has been deteriorating in prison, and said reports about the top cleric’s conditions have hurt the feelings of supporters of the oppressed people in Nigeria.
“…I, as the prosecutor general of the Islamic Republic of Iran, urge the Nigerian judicial authorities (to take steps) in line with their judicial independence and support for a captive citizen, and provide the ground for his release and transfer him to the Islamic Republic of Iran for treatment,” he said in the letter.
The Iranian top judicial official further called on international legal organizations to cooperate in pursuing this major issue.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since 2015 and was charged just in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty.
In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
The top cleric, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.