Court finally rules on el-Zakzaky’s no-case submission; el-Rufai yet to react

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A Kaduna State High Court, on Wednesday, freed the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.

Justice Gideon Kurada upheld the no-case submission the couple filed—in response to the Kaduna State Government allegation of homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace.

The trial has been on for five years, with the couple held in detention initially, and later in prison.

In an eight-hour ruling, Justice Kurada held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.

Their lawyer, 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 and Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife.

The senior lawyer then prayed the court to rule in favour of his clients and dismiss the charges levelled against them.

For dragging out he case against the Shiite leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, a Sunnite, has been branded as heavy-handed on freedom of religion and association.

The IMN and their leader landed in trouble following a fatal confrontation between the group and the convoy of former COAS Tukur Buratai in Zaria in 2016.

Scores of people were allegedly killed, including Zakzakys children, by the soldiers who claimed the Shiites engaged in an armed confrontation with the military.

Kaduna Gov Nasir el-Rufai has yet to comment on the ruling.