JUST IN: Court fixes April 23 for El-Zakzaky trial

Kaduna High Court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada has fixed April 23 and 24th, 2020 for the trial of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) , Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenat.

Earlier, one of the defendants counsels Marshal Abubakar to the court that the shite leader and his wife were declined medical attention and were still in the custody of the prison.

The development prompted the trial judge to summoned the Controller of the Kaduna Correctional Centre to appear before it and stood down court proceedings for more than 2 hours.

Abubakar further told journalists shortly after court proceedings that the trial of his clients was again being frustrated by the state by not allowing the defendants access to their medical doctors as ordered by the court.

Abubakar said: “The matter was billed for today(Monday) for trial. The Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Mallama Zeenat Ibraheem were supposed to take their plea today and charges filed by the state against the couple over the incidents that occurred on Tue 12th and 13th December 2015.

“As at the last dates, the state had informed the court that they intend to call their witnesses today but unfortunately, the trial was stalled by the state once again.

“On the last adjoining date, being February 6, 2020, the court had ordered that the defendants should be allowed access to medical care to be provided by their(defendants) medical practitioners in conjunction with the medical doctors nominated by the State Ministry of Justice and the prisons authorities, but unfortunately, it was brought to the court’s attention that that order was frustrated by the state – the Kaduna government and the prisons authorities who had refused to allow doctors of El-Zakzaky and his wife access to them for medical examination.”

Also, Counsel for the state and Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero told reporters that all “grey areas” had been resolved as the court had ordered that the couple be allowed access to their medical doctors.

Bayero said, “There were some issues that arose in court. But all grey areas have been sorted out and the judge had given an order that the personal physicians to the defendants be allowed access to them.

“Even if they want to go for scanning in any hospital, The Correctional Centre should provide security for them to be taken anywhere.

“The court had adjourned the matter to April 23 and 24, 2020 so that all the issues raised would have been to have been done for the trial to commence.”

When asked why a plea had not been taken, Bayero said: “The court said it can only trial a sane and healthy defendants

“Since there are issues raised about their health, the court had adjourned so that they go and get better to access their personal physician, access the medical care they want.

“The Controller(Correctional Facility) to court and all the issues relating to access to medical care had been ironed out.”

Against this background, Justice Kurada adjourned the case to April 23 and 24, 2020 for the trial to commence.

Meanwhile, the trial was being held under tight security as all roads leading to the court along Independence way; Ibrahim Taiwo Road, as well as Bids Road within the metropolis, were barricaded by security operatives.

Recall that the IMN leader and his wife Zeenat, were standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, among other charges, in another court, following the Nigerian Army and the Shi’ites clash in December 2015.

The High Court had on December 5, 2019 order the Department of State Services to transfer the Shi’ite leader and his wife, to the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Kaduna and to allow his lawyers access to him(El-Zakzaky).

The Presiding Judge order was a sequel to the application by one of the defendant’s lawyers, Haruna Magashi on December 5, 2019, at the resumed hearing of the main in Kaduna. This was eight months after the last hearing on March 24, 2019.

Justice Kurada had also on March 24 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely to enable him to serve on the panel of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal, in Yobe State.

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