The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat are absent in court as their trial by the Kaduna State government resumed on Monday at the state High Court.
The prosecuting counsel, Dari Bayero, is expected to bring the remaining witnesses to court, including a General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army.
Zakzaky and wife Zeenat
According to Daily Trust, the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada had on December 11, 2020 adjourned the case to January 25 and 26, 2021, after the prosecution counsel presented six witnesses before the court.
The prosecution counsel had initially presented two witnesses from the Nigerian Army who testified in secret before the court, while a Director from the Department of State Services and three residents of Gyallesu in Zaria were among the four witnesses that were admitted as witnesses.
El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing trial on eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, among other charges, to which they both pleaded not guilty on September 29, 2020.
Both of them have been in detention at the Kaduna Correctional Service facility since their return from a botched medical trip to India on the orders of the court.
Members of the movement had taken to the streets to renew their calls for their release, claiming that El-Zakzaky and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19 inside the detention facility.
On January 21, he and his wife reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kaduna State Correctional Centre where they are being held.
Family sources had lamented that despite their positive status, the government refused to allow her access to medical care which is fuelling a lot of worries.
“Please, my brother, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim Zakzaky has COVID-19 in Kaduna Prison. She has been denied all forms of medical care! I’m quite worried. I just confirmed that El-Zakzaky has it too,” a family source had told SaharaReporters.
Though a Muslim, El-Zakzaky spent his sixth consecutive December 25 in detention last year. El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were arrested by security operatives on December 14, 2015, after a clash between his followers and officers of the Nigerian Army.
At least 500 Shiites were killed during the incident with no army officer charged for the crime ever since. But, El-Zakzaky and Zeenat have remained in detention despite court orders saying they should be released. The government accused the IMN of not recognising the Nigerian constitution and authority.
His prolonged detention has fuelled several protests by members of the Shiite movement in many Nigeria cities.
Saharareporters, New York