SHAFAQNA- The Trial of the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zinat, has been adjourned till February 24 and February 25, 2020.
Justice Gideon Kurada, the trial judge, at the resumed hearing of the case on Feb. 6, again adjourned the case to allow Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zinat, appear in court to take their plea. According to a report by the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, Femi Falana said on Thursday that his clients – jailed Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Mallimah Zinat – could not appear in the high court in Kaduna, the capital of an eponymous province in northwestern Nigeria, for trial due to their critical health conditions.
Femi Falana SAN has asked the court to order prison officials to allow their doctors to see them. He said the prison doctor said that the illness was more severe for both Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife. And they cannot allow any physician to come from outside the prison without a court order. He added that he went to Abuja, but they refused. So he asked the court to order them to allow the defendants to see their doctors.
The court has therefore ordered the prison officials to allow the Mallam Doctors to go to the prison and examine them. Femi Falana said the defence counsel was not happy with the way the city of Kaduna was locked down by security agents every time the case came up, PM News Nigeria told. The High Court had on Dec. 5, 2019, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to transfer the IMN leader and his wife to a dilapidated prison, where many detainees have so far died due to lack of medical attention.
Separately on Thursday, Nigerian protesters once again took to the streets of the capital, demanding the immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife. Followers of the IMN leader condemned the trial of the top Shia cleric and his wife in the Kaduna high court, Press TV told. Zakzaky, who is in his mid-60s, has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost vision in his left eye.
During the brutal arrest, three of his sons were also killed, his wife sustained serious wounds, and more than 300 of his followers were killed. In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
IHRC urges end to sham trial of Sheikh Zakzaky
The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, a non-profit organization is calling on the Nigerian authorities to free the imprisoned leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, and his spouse . The couple have now been detained for over four years despite the federal high court ruling in 2016 that their detention was unlawful and unconstitutional and ordering the Nigerian government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation, IHRC said.
“That ruling was never enforced with the state authorities in Kaduna deciding instead to prosecute the pair in 2018” IHRC added. IHRC denounced the trial as being politically motivated. “charges are politically motivated, part of a continuing campaign to persecute Sheikh Zakzaky and also deflect official responsibility for the planned and systematic 2015 massacre which is now the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court”.
“Instead the Nigerian authorities have conducted a witch hunt against sheikh and his wife, and instead of applying justice the judicial system has been abused to keep them in prison in the hope that the ailing sheikh will die quietly, thus quietly removing the “problematic” figurehead of the Islamic Movement”, IHRC said.
Last month IHRC wrote to the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the United Nations urging them to secure the Zakzakys release and end the pair’s mistreatment immediately in a manner that is consistent with applicable domestic and international human rights laws and standards.