Abuja Court orders immediate release and compensation for Shi’a leader, El-Zakzaky

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An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday ordered the release of the leader of the Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The leader of the Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested by the military on December 14, 2015, after a clash between the movement and officers of the Nigerian army, has been ordered to be released by the Federal High Court sitting on Friday in Abuja.

According to Premium Times, El-Zakzaky had approached the court to demand his release, months after he was arrested without being charged to Court. He asked the Court to declare that his arrest and continued detention violated his fundamental rights.

The influential cleric’s legal counsel and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, said the court should declare that the continued detention of his client without charging him, was unlawful.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, while delivering the judgement, rejected the submission of the counsel to the State Security Service, Tijjani Gazali, that El-Zakzaky was kept in protective custody of the SSS, adding that the decision to hold the Islamic cleric and his wife for their safety was not based on law.

“I have not been shown any incident report or any complaint lodged by residents around the neighbourhood that the applicant has become a nuisance to his neigbourhood,” said the judge, adding that “the decision of the government to hold the applicant for so long amounted to great danger.”

Citing the death of former leader of the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, the judge said: “If the applicant dies in custody which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths.”

Justice Kolawole said the government should within 45 days release the applicant and his family to the police, who shall within 24 hours take them, guarded by escort, to a safe place, adding that the SSS will pay a fine of N25 million each to El-Zakzaky and his wife, totalling N50 million.

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