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Shi’ite sect: Court allows El-Zakzaky, wife to seek medical care in India

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THE bail application of the Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), to seek medical attention in India has been granted.

The Kaduna State high court granted the Shi’ite sect leader and his wife, Zeenat, bail on Monday during the hearing of the application, ChannelsTV reported.

The approval came after four years of being in the detention of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS) while his followers have continuously complained of his poor state of health.

In the ruling, Darius Khobo, the presiding judge, ordered the leader to take leave for medical treatment. He said El-Zakzaky should be accompanied to India by officials of the Kaduna State government.

Meanwhile, the court did not declare any time frame on how long he would stay in India.  And the date to embark on the medical trip was not fixed in the court.

El-Zakzaky was arrested in December 2015 following a clash with the country’s military personnel.

He was in the confinement of the DSS without fair hearing for two years. On May 2018, the IMN leader was first arraigned in court.

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His counsel led by Femi Falana had applied for a leave to attend to the couple’s health issues, but it was denied in November 2018. The presiding judge at the Kaduna high court had said the accused El-Zakzaky and his wife had not shown any substantial medical evidence to grant them bail in their written application.

The court’s rule today, however, favoured the leader of the Shi’ite sect.

Meanwhile,  the federal government last week has proscribed the group since last Tuesday. The federal government said the IMN as led by El-Zakzaky was a terrorist and illegal group.

The Shi’ite members have engaged in continuous protests for the release of their leader since he was captured, but recent protests have ended tragically.

A recent protest on July 22 in Abuja, the nation’s capital, led to the death of a Deputy Commissioner of Police Umar Usman and Channels TV reporter  Precious Owolabi who before his death was a member of the  National Youth Service Corps.

Reacting to the ruling, Kaduna government counsel, Dari Bayero, said the prosecution team would go back and study the judgement to see if there were grounds for appeal.

Falana, who defended El-Zakzakys clarified that the judgement was for the couple to be treated in India because of their health issues but not “an outright bail”.

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He said they were expected to return to Nigeria after being treated and to continue with their trial.

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