- The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has been arraigned before a Kaduna high court amidst tight security
- The appearance is said to have made it the first time the Shiite leader would be tried in public since his arrest and detention in December 2015
- Members of the IMN that trooped to the court premises were barred from entering as the major road leading to the court was blocked by armed security officers
The detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who has been in Nigerian custody since 2015 after clashes between troops and his followers made a rare public appearance in court on Tuesday, May 15, to face criminal charges.
Premium Times reports that Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife were brought from Nigeria’s capital of Abuja to the Kaduna state high court to face charges including culpable of killing of one person by another and unlawful assembly.
It was learnt that journalists and other members of the IMN that trooped to the court premises were barred from entering as the major road leading to the court was blocked off by armed security officers.
The counsel to El-Zakzaky, Maxwell Kyom declared that the cleric is being charged with unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable of killing of one person by another punishable with death.
Kyom said the case could not continue because two of the defendants were not in court.
According to him, an oral application was moved for the bail of the cleric and his wife. But the presiding judge, Gideon Kurada, asked him to put his application officially in writing.
The case was adjourned to June 21 by the presiding judge based on application by the prosecutor for them to properly file their statement of claim.
Following the trial, IMN members protested in Kaduna demanding the release of their leader.
A member of the group, Abdulhameed Bello, said they were disappointed with the trial because the federal government refused to heed an earlier court ruling granting bail to the cleric.
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He said: “We call on the federal and Kaduna state governments to as a matter of urgency obey the judgment of the Abuja court and release the Sheikh for peace to reign.“
Bello explained that IMN members will continue to use all peaceful means to put pressure on the government to release the detained cleric.
Hundreds of IMN members are already being detained and tried by the police in several states and Abuja for embarking on protests demanding the cleric’s release.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that El-Zakzaky said the health of their leader was deteriorating as he had been held in “protective custody”. The group expressed fear that El-Zakzaky might die due to his bad health.
Dino Melaye and 2019 Criminal Conspiracy | NAIJ.com TV: