Thousands of Nigerians have held a fresh rally in solidarity with the jailed Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
During the rally which was held in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, the protesters, mostly affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), called for the release of the ailing cleric, who is in urgent need of medical treatment.
Similar protest march was also held in Washington with protesters chanting slogans, such as “Free Free Zakzaky.”
According to reports, Zakzaky’s health is deteriorating in the prison, but the authorities still resist to give him access to treatment.
He was also scheduled to appear in a court on Monday that was due to decide whether or not he should be freed to receive urgent medical treatment. But, the court in the northern city of Kaduna adjourned the bail hearing until August 5.
The supporters of the IMN say the adjournment is a deliberate ploy to drag out proceedings so that sheikh’s condition deteriorates to the point of no return.
Zakzaky, the founder of IMN, has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost vision in his left eye.
During the brutal crackdown, three of his sons lost their lives, his wife sustained serious wounds, and some 350 of his followers were killed.
Since then, the government has been violently cracking down on the IMN and its members.
Recently, a Nigerian court granted the government permission to label the IMN as a “terrorist” group, a move that many believe would give the officials the opportunity to clamp down harder on it.
IMN members regularly take to the streets of the Nigerian capital to call for the release of Zakzaky.
In recent weeks, dozens of demonstrators have been killed after Nigerian troops used live ammunition and tear gas. The IMN says it has lost at least 20 of its members during the clashes last week.