Nigeria n cleric held since 2015 regains freedom
Shiite Muslim leader Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife detained for murder since 2015 in Nigeria have on Wednesday been discharged, lawyers said.
AdvertisementAdvertisementZakzaky, his wife Zeenah Ibrahim and 200 of their followers were arrested in a violent crackdown in the northern city of Zaria.A court in 2016 ordered the couple be released - but the authorities ignored the demand and filed charges against the cleric including the murder of a soldier.
"None of the 15 prosecution witnesses proved they committed the offence," lawyer Sadau Garba told AFP after Wednesday's hearing, adding that the couple had been acquitted and"regained their freedom today."Lead prosecutor Dari Bayero confirmed that the pair had been freed but said the state was planning to appeal.
AdvertisementAdvertisement"The court ruled that none of the witnesses we presented in court gave convincing proof that the duo were guilty," Bayero said."This doesn't mean they can't be re-arraigned... we are certainly going to file charges against the duo at appeal." headtopics.com
Amnesty international urged the Nigerian authorities to"immediately comply" with the court order."If the government once again deliberately disregards the orders of its own courts, it will demonstrate a flagrant - and dangerous - contempt for the rule of law," the rights group said in a statement.
AdvertisementTroops launched a ferocious clampdown on Zakzaky's group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), in December 2015, when members blocked the convoy of the army chief of staff during a religious procession.Rights groups said at the time that some 350 IMN members were killed during two days of clashes and later buried in mass graves.
The army initially denied the events and said a soldier was killed by armed Shiites.Zakzaky's continued detention has led to street protests in the nation's capital Abuja, sparking violent clashes with security forces that have claimed dozens of lives.
The Nigerian government officially outlawed the group in 2019.VINDICATIONThat same year, 100 of the detained members were released in two batches after a court acquitted them.And in February last year another court released 87 other IMN members for lack of evidence. headtopics.com
After the announcement of Zakzaky's release, his lawyer said the cleric and his wife"now need to go home, have some rest and attend to their urgent medical needs."But he added they will"seek damages against the Kaduna state government for all the deprivations and the travails our client suffered."
A spokesman for the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said the court's decision was"a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity"."The false charges filed against them have finally been punctured for good after almost five years of excruciating illegal detention," Musa said.
"This judgement has not only vindicated them and all members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution by the Nigerian government." Read more: CNA »
Covid-19: People with positive rapid-test result to self-isolate for 3 days; test kits at 100 vending machines from Sept 18
That Buhari needs to held too
Olympics-Surfing-Australian Wright puts brain injury behind him to bag bronzeAustralian surfer Owen Wright suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2015 after a training wipeout, but all that was forgotten on Tuesday as he ...
Russian court asked to restrict Navalny ally's freedoms for two yearsRussian state prosecutors asked a court on Wednesday to find Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, guilty of breaching ...
Cricket: Sri Lanka hold nerve to sink depleted India in low-scoring thrillerDhananjaya de Silva shone with the bat as Sri Lanka beat India by four wickets in the second Twenty20 international in Colombo on Wednesday to ...
Analysis-Tesla hikes electric car prices in US; holds line in ChinaTesla Inc showed signs this week of divergent strategies in the world's two biggest automotive markets, raising prices to boost profit margins in ...