After almost six months in detention, a Kaduna High Court on Wednesday granted freedom to the Shiite Movement in Nigeria leader, Mallam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.
Justice Gideon Kurada, the trial judge upheld the no case submission filed by lawyer to El-Zakzaky, Femi Falana to the effect that the prosecutor did not establish a prima facie case against the religious leader. The trial judge therefore discharged and acquitted them and ordered their immediate release from detention.
Justice Kurada in his judgment said that the case of the prosecution is “manifestly unreliable.
The court had on July 1, 2021 fixed July 28 for ruling in the No-case-submission filed by Falana on behalf of the defendants. Justice Kurada fixed the date after the prosecution and counsel to the defendants, addressed the court on the no case submission prayer.
Falana, who is lead counsel to El-Zakzaky, spoke to reporters shortly after the adjournment, and prayed the court to rule in favor of his clients. According to him, the prosecution team called 15 witnesses but the court dismissed their evidence. “We addressed the court that there is nothing to defend”, Falana said, adding that “the court took our addresses and fixed July 28 for ruling on the No-Case-Submission,” Falana said.
Mr Dari Bayero, lead Counsel for the prosecution in the “secret trial” had at the close of their submission, on March 31, prayed the Court to sentence the defendants.
Bayero had asked the court to overrule the defence, and sentence Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat as provided by the law.
“We are satisfied with the way the case has gone so far, we have presented 15 witnesses, including Army Generals, who are key actors and players that led to the filing of the case against the IMN leader.
“One of our prayers is that the court should overrule the No-Case-Submission, overrule the defence, convict the defendants accordingly, and pass the necessary sentence as provided for in the law,” Bayero said.
The Kaduna State Government charged El-Zakzaky and Zeenat with eight count charges bordering on culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.