The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have been released from Kaduna Correctional Centre after they were acquitted and discharged by the Kaduna State High Court on Wednesday.
According to their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), they have left Kaduna for an unknown destination.
Justice Gideon Kurada of the Kaduna State High Court had earlier acquitted and discharged the Shiites leader, El- Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat Ibrahim who had been standing trial in the court for the past four years.
In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, Justice Kurada upheld the no-case submission filed by Zakzaky’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), saying the witnesses presented by the prosecution counsel had been unable to establish any connection between the charges and El-Zakzaky.
El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were standing trial on eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of the public peace, among others.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
The couple had been in detention since 2015, after IMN supporters clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had filed a no-case submission and asked the court to dismiss the charges levelled against them as there was no criminal case so far that has been established against the defendants by the Kaduna state government.
The Judge in his judgement held that the charges filed in 2018, under the Kaduna State Penal Code, 2017 over offences allegedly committed on or about December 12, 2015, are incompetent and amount to an abuse of court process.
On the no-case submission filed by the defendants, the court resolved all the eight issues raised therein in favour of El-Zakzaky.
On count one, which bothered on conspiracy, it held that there is no single shred of evidence from which conspiracy can be inferred and that there is no single shred of evidence from which conspiracy can be held to have emanated.
On counts two to seven, the court held that for there to be abatement, there must be evidence of persons abated.
“That on the authority of PATRICK NJOVENS VS THE STATE the element of abatement and ingredients constituting the offences abated must be proved conjunctively. that there is no evidence of anybody abated or anything done to invite any person to commit an offence on December 12, 2015.
“That all the witnesses were grandiosely discredited by the Defense counsel during cross-examination.
“That no credible evidence led that can be competently relied upon... that the no-case submission of the Defendants finds merit and they are hereby discharged and acquitted,” one of the lawyers quoted Justice Kurada as ruling.
During the last sitting, Falana prayed the court to rule in favour of his clients and dismiss the charges levelled against them, saying there was no criminal case established against them so far by the Kaduna State Government.
The prosecuting counsel, Dari Bayero, had presented 15 witnesses, who testified against the defendants, and among them were two army officers, a retired director of State Security Service (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS), police officers and a medical doctor.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters reported on Tuesday that a member of the Resource Forum of the IMN, Mohammed Ibrahim, stated that the members of the group were certain that justice would be served and that their leader, El-Zakzaky would be freed from prison on Wednesday.
Ibrahim said members of the group were patiently waiting for the court to establish a ”no-case submission" regarding the charges levelled against their leader, who has been detained and assaulted since 2015.