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US labels El-Zakzaky, wife as ‘political prisoners’

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Secret trial of Sheikh El-Zakzaky, wife adjourned to 2021

The United States has tagged the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, as political prisoners.

The US State Department on Tuesday, April 6, made this disclosure via its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

According to the report, Zakzaky and his wife remained in detention after “the Kaduna State Government in 2018 charged Zakzaky in state court with multiple felonies stemming from the death of a soldier at Zaria.”

Ripples Nigeria had reported that the IMN cleric was arrested in December 2015 after soldiers clamped down on his supporters, allegedly killing at least 347 of them, including his children.

The army had accused them of blocking a public road being used then by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He was detained without trial for several months causing his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), to file a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Read also: Court adjourns El-Zakzaky’s trial till March 31

In December 2016, Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered that El-Zakzaky and his wife be released from detention into an accommodation that must be provided for them within 45 days.

Justice Kolawole awarded N25m each, totalling N50m, to the Shi’ite leader and his wife for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody.

The Federal Government, however, ignored the judgment, and they still remain in detention.

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