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Just In: Court frees El-zakzaky, wife after 6yrs in detention

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Kaduna State High Court has discharged and acquitted the leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) know better as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, after close to six years in detention.

Also freed alongside El-zakzaky was his wife, Zeenah, who had been in detention with him throughout the trials after the duo were both arrested in 2015. The travails began after a clash between El-Zakzaky followers and convoy of immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai in Zaria.

In his ruling on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kudura, upheld the no-case submission filed by the embattled Shi’ite leader’s lawyer, Femi Falana, arguing that the witnesses presented by the prosecution counsel have not been able to establish any connection between the charges and the accused.

The judge further held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants. El-Zakzaky and his wife had been standing trial on an eight-count of alleged culpable homicide, disruption of the public peace, and unlawful Assembly among others leveled against them by the Kaduna state government.

Briefing journalists after the trial, counsel to Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, said that the court upheld their no-case submission and struck out the case for lacking in merit.

According to him, the court found that the charges that were filed in the year 2018 pursuant to a penal law enacted by the Kaduna state government in 2017 over offenses allegedly committed in 2015 is ab-initio.

Abubakar said: “The trial of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibraheem has come to an end today. The court has upheld our no-case submission.

“The court ruled that the charge ought not to be in the first place. Because you cannot arraign a man for an offence that was already committed as at the time the said crime was not an offence. And the Court was very emphatic on that.

“Yes, the Kaduna State government has powers to enact laws but they cannot enact a law to prosecute an offence prospectively. That is the first ground on which the court held that that charge was incompetent.

“On another footing, the no-case submission we filed in court. The court agreed with us that the trial lacked merits. That the prosecution only came to court to tell stories that are at cross variance with the offences that were alleged in the charges. The court agreed with us that, El-Zakzaky and his wife have committed no offence.

“The Court however discharged and acquitted El-Zakzaky and his wife. It said there should not have been any charge against El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat in the first place,” he said.

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