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Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Wife Released From Kaduna Prison After 5-Year Illegal Detention

Kaduna court has freed Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, saying they have no case to answer.

Kaduna State High Court has ordered the immediate release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife, Zeenat, from Kaduna Correctional Centre.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Wife Released From Kaduna Prison After 5-Year Illegal Detention

KanyiDaily recalls that El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 after some of his IMN followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.

The IMN leader is standing trial on eight-count allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, among other charges.

Kaduna State Government had accused the couple of being responsible for the death of a soldier when soldiers massacred over 300 protesting Shiites in December 2015.

El-Zakzaky, Wife Have No Case To Answer – Court

In a ruling that lasted over eight hours on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, the judge, Gideon Kurada, upheld the no-case submission filed by El-Zakzaky and his wife.

Justice Kurada noted that the witnesses presented by the prosecution counsel had been unable to establish any connection between the charges and El-Zakzaky.

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Counsel to the defendants, Marshal Abubakar who represented the lead counsel in the suit, Femi Falana, SAN, informed reporters shortly after the trial ended in Kaduna.

“The trial of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat has come to an end as the court found them not guilty of the alleged crime filed against them by the Kaduna State Government.

“The court found that the charges that were filed in 2018 pursuant to the Penal Law enacted by the state government in 2017 over an alleged offence committed in 2015, were incompetent.

“The court, presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada, ruled that the charge was not supposed to be filed in the first place, as the government cannot arraign someone for a said crime that was not an offence at the time.

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“The court ruled that the charge was incompetent, as the court agreed that El-Zakzaky and his wife had committed no offence.

“The court also holds that the event of December 12, 2015 and December 15, 2015 was not an offence and the court was emphatic that none of the events on December 12, 2015 can be attributed to the defendants for an offence.

“The court, thereby, discharges and acquits the defendants, as there should have been no charge in the first place. No party asked for cost of fine,” Abubakar told reporters.

The lead prosecution team, Mr. Dari Bayero, however, declined comment on the ruling as he drove out of the court premises.

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Illegal Detention And Contentious Trial Of El-Zakzaky

Following El-Zakzaky’s arrest by the military on December 13, 2015, the IMN leader had experienced what may be described as a long contentious trial.

He marked his first appearance on May 15, 2018 where he was arraigned before a Kaduna High Court amidst tight security.

The Department of Security Services (DSS) had held the Shiite leader in detention despite a court order ordering his release.

However, the DSS complied with the court order and freed El-Zakzky who proceeded to India for medical treatment.

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El-Zakzaky and his wife left Nigeria in August 2019 for India following a ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which granted them permission to be treated in the country.

On their arrival at the hospital where treatment was expected to commence, the trip turned controversial.

Upon his return to Nigeria in August 2019, he, alongside his wife were taken into custody, four days after they travelled to the Asian country.

On September 29, 2020, El-Zakzaky asked the court to dismiss the allegations against him and his wife for lack of evidence, but the court dismissed the no-case submission filed by the couple.

Justice Kurada dismissed the no-case submission, saying that it was premature to rule on the application to quash the charges against the defendants in view of the clear provisions of the Kaduna State Administration of Criminal Justice.

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