Falana: Fresh charges against El-Zakzaky meant to ensure his continuous detention

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Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and lead counsel to the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, has said that the fresh charges file against couple at the Federal High Court, was aimed at ensuring their continuous detention.
El-Zakzaky and his wife who were standing trial before a Kaduna state high court, were freed on Wednesday, discharged and acquitted by the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada while ruling in a no case submission filed by the IMN leader.
The coupe had been in detention since December 2015, following a clash between his followers and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state.
They were being prosecuted by the Kaduna state government on eight-count charge bordering on culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace among others.
Two days before the high court ruling, the federal and Kaduna state governments filed fresh charges against them bordering on terrorism at a Federal High Court in Kaduna.
In a statement on Sunday, Falana said, the government action was aimed at ensuring the continuous detention of the couple.
According to Falana, “the new charge was maliciously filed when the Kaduna State Government anticipated that the ruling fixed for July 28 in respect our no case submission would succeed”.
Falana said, as soon as the new charge was filed, the bailiff of the federal high court was commanded to rush to the Kaduna correctional centre to serve same on the defendants.
“But the defendants refused to accept service of the charge and directed the Bailiff to serve it on them through their Counsel.
“But for reasons best known to the Kaduna State Government, the charge was not served on the defence counsel.
“In apparent disregard of the epochal judgment of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kurada, the Kaduna State Government seeks to subject the defendants to trial under the Terrorism Prevention Act enacted in 2011 for offences that were committed as far back as 2008.
“But since the Kaduna State Government is not sure that the defendants would be convicted for terrorism, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Bayero, has announced that an appeal would be filed at the Court of Appeal against the Ruling of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kadura.”
“Since the new charge has failed to achieve its oppressive objective of frustrating the release of the couple from further incarceration, we call on the Kaduna State Government to discontinue it without any delay.

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