#BREAKING: COURT FREES EL-ZAKZAKY, WIFE SIX YEARS AFTER COUPLE’S DETENTION

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A Kaduna State High Court has acquitted and discharged the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, saying he has no case to answer after languishing in prison cells for nearly six years.

The trial of El-Zakzay and Zeenat borders on 8-count charges of alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace among other charges.

The couple have been in detention since December 2015 following a bloody clash between his followers and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State, which led to the death of many individuals. Also, hundreds of his followers were reported to have been killed during the raid. Since then, he has remained under state detention in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

However, the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them when they were read out to them.

Counsel for the embattled Shi’ite leader, Femi Falana, SAN, subsquently filed a no-case submission at the court, praying that the court should rule in favour of El-Zakzaky and his wife.

Falana said both the prosecuting and defence teams addressed the court on the no case submission.

During court proceedings, Kaduna state presented over 14 witnesses including two Army officers, a retired director of state security service, police officers and a medical doctor who testified before the court.

However, Justice Gideon of the High court upheld the no-case submission on the grounds that the prosecutor failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.

Counsel to the defendants, Marshal Abubakar who represented the lead counsel in the suit, Femi Falana, SAN, spoke to 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.

“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.

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