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Islamic Movement Media organs demand release of Al-Jazeera staff, members

By Ibrahim Usman
Journalists under the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under     the leadership of His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqub Zakzaky, comprising staff of Al-Mizan and Pointer Express newspapers, as well as other members of the Media Forum, have joined contingent of journalists around the world to commemorate the International Day of Action, to call for the release of Al-Jazeera staff illegally detained by Egyptian government.

The group of journalists who staged a vigil at the premises of Kaduna council of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) with sealed mouths carrying placards tagged, “Unseal Our Mouths, Free Journalists”, also demanded the immediate release of their brothers, Haruna Abbas and Hussain Ibrahim, detained by the Nigerian government a year ago.

In a statement issued during the rally signed by the Editor-In-Chief of Al-Mizan newspaper, Ibrahim Musa said, “This vigil is also about objective reporting and to ensure journalists cannot be gagged, silenced or suppressed. On this day, we cannot forget the illegal detention of our Al-Mizan staff by the Nigerian security Service in 2013. As in Egypt, press freedom in Nigeria is facing great threat, as objective reporting is being suppressed”.

Tagged, “Release Al-Jazeera Staff Now- Journalism is Not a Crime”, the statement expressed optimism that, through the agitation by the world media and partners, pressure can be brought to bear on the Egyptian authorities to hasten the release of the Al-Jazeera staff.

On the demand for the release of two members of the Islamic Movement, the statement further explained that, “The DSS detaining them has neither charged them to court nor grant their lawyer or even their family access to them since February 2013”.

The journalists re-echoed the outcry of the global media, “We are at the same time reminding the world in a united voice, that journalism is not a crime!”

It would be recalled that three Al-Jazeera journalists, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed and two other reporters, Abdullah Al-Shami and Mohammed Badr, have been detained in Egypt since last year, standing trial accused of alleged conspiracy to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation.