Again, Court Adjourns El-Zakzaky’s Trial

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El-Zakzaky

John Shiklam in Kaduna

A Kaduna State High court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada yesterday adjourned the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat till March 25, 2019.

Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December 2015, following clashes between his followers and the Nigerian army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

They are standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace, among others.

They were earlier denied bail by the Justice Kurada during the last sitting on the matter on November 7, 2018 on the grounds that the defendant failed to support their request for bail with enough medical evidence that would allow the court to exercise its discretion in his favour.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to January 22, 2019 for accelerated hearing.

When the case came up for mention yesterday, the prosecution lawyers led by Bayero Dari of the Ministry of Justice, prayed the court to continue with the case, even though the authorities were yet to get hold of the other two accused persons under trial.

Lead counsel to the plaintiffs and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, made no objection to the demand, but prayed the court to amend the charges to be Kaduna State Government vs Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, to which the presiding judge agreed to.

Falana prayed the court to give a mandatory order for his clients to be flown abroad to receive proper medical attention since the government has glaringly failed to cure them of the injuries they sustained during the army’s onslaught on their residence in December 2015.

Falana argued that Sheikh Zakzaky had in January 2018, suffered stroke in detention and since the attack by the soldiers three years ago, he has not been allowed to optimally access healthcare.

He said Zakzaky had lost his left eye as a result of the military bullets unleashed on him during the attack , adding that he stands the risk of losing his sight completely except urgent medical attention is provided.

Falana added further that the health situation of Zakzaky’s wife Zeenat, has similarly deteriorated as she is known to be experiencing severe excruciating pains due to the presence of shrapnel lodged in her body following the horrendous attacks by the Nigerian military.

While adjourning the case, Justice Gideon Kurada said the court cannot accede to the request of the plaintiff to travel abroad for medical treatment.

He however, ordered that Zakzaky should be allowed by the government to bring doctors of his choice to examine him in the presence of doctors from the government before the date of the next sitting.