After almost six years in detention, Justice Gideon Kurada of the Kaduna State High Court on Wednesday discharged and acquited leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat.
Justice Kurada cleared the embattled couple of the allegation after upholding separate no case submission applications filed by their lawyer, Femi Falana.
The judge held that the prosecutor failed to establish a prima facie case against the religious leader and his wife.
The court further held that in his judgment that the case of the prosecution is “manifestly unreliable”.
He therefore discharged and acquitted them and ordered their immediate release from detention.
The court had on July 1, 2021 fixed July 28 for ruling in the No-case-submission filed by Falana on behalf of the defendants.
Justice Kurada fixed the date after the prosecution and counsel to the defendants, addressed the court on the no case submission prayer.
Falana had prayed the court to rule in favor of his clients, stating that prosecution team called 15 witnesses but the court dismissed their evidence.
The government lawyer, Dari Bayero, in the “secret trial” had at the close of their submission, on March 31, prayed the Court to sentence the defendants.
Bayero had asked the court to overrule the defence, and sentence Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat as provided by the law.
He said, “we are satisfied with the way the case has gone so far, we have presented 15 witnesses, including Army Generals, who are key actors and players that led to the filing of the case against the IMN leader.
“One of our prayers is that the court should overrule the No-Case-Submission, overrule the defence, convict the defendants accordingly, and pass the necessary sentence as provided for in the law,” Bayero said.
The Kaduna State Government charged El-Zakzaky and Zeenat with eight count charges bordering on culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charge.