AI demands probe into Shi’ites’death in custody

Amnesty International has demanded  an  investigation into  the circumstances surrounding the death of    three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in police custody.

The trio were  detained for  their alleged involvement in the July 22 violent protest by the sect popularly called Shi’ites in Abuja.

Police had arrested 54 suspects in connection with the protest, but  AI claimed  15 injured protesters, including minors, were also being held  by the force.

Spokesman for the international human rights group, Isa Sanusi, alleged in   a statement  on Monday that police raided government hospitals and arrest injured protesters who were detained without charges.

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The organisation said it learnt from witnesses that police in two  Toyota Hilux arrived at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, at about 5.30pm on July 22 and rounded up 11 patients with gunshot wounds, most of them IMN members brought to the hospital earlier in the day.

Sanusi  said, “The Nigerian authorities must immediately investigate the death from gunshot wounds of at least three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria while in police custody and provide an urgent and adequate medical care for  15 others who need treatment for life-threatening gunshot wounds.

 “The 15 individuals, including two minors, have been held incommunicado at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad detention facility since July 22, following a government crackdown on IMN supporters protesting against their leader’s detention.

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“The three who died, after being denied medical treatment, were understood to have died between the date of their detention (July 22) and July 24.”

AI  said  a credible source told them  that they saw at least 15 protesters with life-threatening gunshot wounds to their  stomachs, hips and legs in detention.

AI Director, Osai Ojigho, said, “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.”

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The human rights group said it requested to visit the detainees to verify their conditions, but the police had yet to grant the request.

AI  also called for an independent investigation into  the killing of 11 protesters, Deputy Commissioner of Police Usman Umar and Channels TV reporter, Precious Owolabi.

Spokesman for the police in the  Federal Capital Territory, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, could not be reached for comment as calls to his phone rang out.

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