26 March 2019

Nigeria: El-Zakzaky, Wife's Trial Suffers Setback As Court Adjourns Case Indefinitely

Kaduna — A Kaduna State High Court yesterday adjourned sitting in the murder case involving Shiites Leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Hajiya Zeenat indefinitely. El-Zakzaky and wife are standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges brought against them by the Kaduna State government.

Justice Gideon Kurada adjourned the matter indefinitely when it came up for hearing, following his appointment as Judge in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe State.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the adjournment, lead counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana (SAN), lamented that in spite of Kurada's absence, El-Zakzaky and Zeenat's health condition has deteriorated, and were in dire need of medical attention.

Falana insisted that his clients could not appear in court due to their failing health, adding that they had not received adequate medical care since their detention in December 2015."So, the court has adjourned sine die. My clients are yet to access any form of medical attention even after the court had ordered so. The case had to be adjourned, as both my clients need time to attend to their health," Falana said.

Meanwhile, on January 21 the court had ordered the Kaduna State Government to ensure that leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and his wife, Zeenat, be granted access to medical care. Kurada had also accepted the withdrawal of charges against the third and fourth defendants, Yahya Yakubu and Sunusi Abdulqadir, who were standing trial alongside El-Zakzaky.

Speaking, the prosecution counsel, Dari Bayero, confirmed after the proceedings that the charges against the third and fourth defendants had been withdrawn.He added that the court also asked the prosecution to amend its charges to conform to the new development. When the case came up yesterday, some major roads leading to Ibrahim Taiwo Road in the Kaduna metropolis, were condoned off by armed policemen, which led to serious tragic congestion in the city.

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