A division of the Nigerian Federal High Court in the capital Abuja has ordered the release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, who had been illegally detained for a year by Nigerian intelligence.

The Nigerian Federal High Court on Friday ordered the release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of Nigeria's Shia Islamic Movement. Sheikh Zakzaky had been detained for a year in prison without charges, following a massacre committed by the Nigerian Army on December 14th, 2015, in which nearly 1000 people were massacred. The massacre became known as the 2015 Zaria Massacre.

Another massacre had been committed by the Nigerian Army against the group in July, 2014, during the Quds Day demonstrations, which became known as the Zaria Quds Massacre. On this day the Nigerian Army shot 35 of Zakzaky's followers, including three of his sons. Between 2014 and 2015, six of his sons have so far been killed.

More recently, on October 12, which coincided with the day of Ashura, security forces yet again attacked peaceful processions in various parts of Nigeria, killing at least 11 people, and again killed at least 10 people as they were carrying out a procession on November 14th.

Many human rights groups accused the military of committing "mass slaughter" in Zaria, and of burying the dead in mass graves.

The counsel to Nigeria's intelligence agency (DSS), was claiming that Zakzaky was being held in protective custody. Judge Gabriel Kolawole, the court's judge however, rejected the claim, and ordered the federal government to provide secure accommodations for Zakzaky and his family. The DSS are due to release Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife within a period of 45 days.