A Kaduna State High Court has freed the embattled leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.
In a ruling that lasted over eight hours, the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada upheld the no-case submission filed by Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife in an alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace levelled against them by the Kaduna state government.
The judge in his ruling held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.
The duo has been standing trial for four years on an eight-count charge of alleged culpable homicide, disruption of public peace and unlawful Assembly among others levelled against them by the Kaduna State Government.
The defendants were brought to court on Wednesday morning by officials of the Nigerian Correctional service amidst tight security.
Their lead counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, had on July 1, argued that all the 15 witnesses presented by the prosecution counsel were unable to establish any connection between the alleged crimes of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife.
Falana then prayed the court to rule in favour of his clients and dismiss the charges levelled against them as there was no criminal case that has been established against them so far by the Kaduna State Government.
Long, Contentious Trial
Following El-Zakzaky’s arrest by the military on December 13, 2015, the IMN leader had experienced what may be described as a long contentious trial.
He marked his first appearance on May 15, 2018 where he was arraigned before a Kaduna High Court amidst tight security.
The Department of Security Services (DSS) had held the Shiite leader in detention despite a court order ordering his release.
However, the DSS complied with the court order and freed El-Zakzky who proceeded to India for medical treatment.
El-Zakzaky and his wife left Nigeria in August 2019 for India following a ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which granted them permission to be treated in the country.
On their arrival at the hospital where treatment was expected to commence, the trip turned controversial.
Upon his return to Nigeria in August 2019, he, alongside his wife were taken into custody, four days after they travelled to the Asian country.