Nigeria: Court Frees Nine Shi'ites Members in Kaduna

17 October 2019

The Kaduna State High Court has freed nine members of the Sheikh El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiites arrested following the proscription order by the Kaduna State Government in 2016.

The nine shi'ites members, including two women, were arrested precisely three years ago while on their way to attend the Islamic religious rite of Ashura mourning in Kaduna and have been in detention since 2016.

Justice Shiri Nyom discharged and acquitted the sect members of the charges levelled against them, a statement by the President Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa stated.

According to the statement, Justice Nyoms, said the prosecution didn't prove any of the charges against any of those standing trial.

The group noted that the judgment added to the number of landmark cases in which the government had failed to convict any member of its members for any crime in various courts across the country since the Zaria massacre of December 2015.

It added that so far, hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have been discharged and acquitted for alleged crimes including that of culpable homicide among others after proper trials in courts.

According to the movement, since the persecution of the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky commenced, the High Courts in Kaduna and Sokoto, as well as the Court of Appeal have discharged and acquitted 309 members of the Islamic Movement and dismissed the frivolous charges brought against them.

"Today, exactly a week ago the Kaduna State High Court presided by Justice Nyoms has discharged and acquitted 9 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria arrested precisely three years ago while on their way to attend the Islamic religious rite of Ashura mourning in Kaduna.

"All the nine, including two women, stood trial in the Kaduna State High Court since September 2016.

"They were accused of being members of the Islamic Movement, unlawful assembly and intent to disturb the public among others.

"On July 2, of 2015 the Sokoto Judicial Division - Court of Appeal - has discharged and acquitted 112 members of the Islamic Movement of any offense.

"On Tuesday 30/07/2018 Justice David Shiri Wyom at the Kaduna State High Court cleared over 80 Shiite supporters of the Islamic Movement of criminal charges linked to a violent protest in 2015.

"He ruled in favour of the defence's no case submission, saying that the state did not present enough evidence to go ahead with proceedings."

This, according to the IMN, "explains why the government has resorted to employing delay tactics in the prosecution of the remaining cases left in court, including the one trying the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky through deliberate attempts at frustrating the legal team of the Islamic Movement, led by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN and Mr. Maxwell Kyon, who have so far successfully defended and won all the cases against the government."

The group also reiterated its call on the federal and state governments to withdraw the charges against El-Zakzaky and others standing trial, adding that toying with the lives of innocent citizens, remained an aberration in any democratic polity.

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