Justice Darius Khobo of Kaduna State High Court on Monday granted leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat leave to travel to India for medical attention.
The court in granting the leave said Zakzaky and his wife are to go on the medical leave under the supervision or the state
IMN in a swift reaction to the ruling said, it was a favourable judgement, which is long overdue.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the state government and Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero said they may be appealing the ruling.
Zakzaky and wife were dragged to the High Court on eight count charges including culpable homicide and public disturbance in connection with the December 2015 clashes between members of the IMN and soldiers in Zaria, which left many persons dead.
Lead Counsel to the applicant, Femi Falana SAN had earlier filed application before Justice Darius Khobo’s Kaduna State High Court seeking leave to allow his clients seek medical treatment abroad.
Subsequently, the application was adjourned till Monday 5th August for ruling.
Counsel to El-Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the court ruling said, what Zakzaky was granted was leave, and not bail.
We filed the application asking for leave to save the life of our clients , Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife.
According to him, “the ruling came up today and the court under Justice Darius Khobo graciously agreed with Mr Femi Falana SAN and the various medical reports that were attached to the applications. There were eight medical reports that clearly show the applicants are in dire need of medical treatment abroad.
“The court agreed that they should be allowed immediate treatment that they sort for and with supervision by the of the state.” He said.
However, the state counsel, Bayero said, the state will study the ruling to see whether it will appeal the judgement or not.
According to Bayero, “The context of the court ruling is that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are granted leave to travel out for urgent medical attention.
“The court looked through the medical reports filed and believed Mallam is indeed in dire need of medical attention. This is not a bail, but leave to travel.”
Asked how long the leave will take, Bayero said, “once he is discharged by the hospital he is referred to. So as soon as he’s discharged from the hospital and he returns to the country, his trial will resume.
“The court has ruled and we are bound by the ruling of the court.”
Asked whether the IMN leader has choice to go to another hospital for the treatment apart from India, Bayero said, “Zakzaky specifically choose to go to the hospital in India.”
“We will go and sit down and study the ruling and explore whether there is need for us to appeal. We have a month to go through that.” He said.
However, IMN in a statement issued shortly after the court ruling by Chairman, Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola said,
ruling was a victory for their dogged determination and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution.
According to IMN, “Today, Monday 05/08/19 we obtained a favourable judgement in the ruling on application specifically seeking for the court’s permission to allow Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim to seek urgent medical treatment outside this country.
“This ruling is not only a vindication that leaving all doors open to obtain favourable outcomes works, but it is a victory for our dogged determination, patience and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
“It will be recalled that the applicants are known to be clearly very ill in detention, consequent on the brutal wounds unjustifiably inflicted on them by the state agents in the name of Nigerian army, the resultant prolonged dehumanizing detention in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the obvious poisoning of the Sheikh. As a result of all these physical and psychological stresses, the Sheikh suffered series of mild strokes and is at the risk of further recurrences.
“Meanwhile, he lost one eye following the military attack and is at a severe risk of losing sight completely in the other. He is now found to have more than twenty times the toxic levels of lead poison in his body! Similarly, the wife has been under excruciating pains with shrapnel deeply lodged in her body for all these years of inhuman conditions in detention. She now is able to ambulate only with the use of a wheelchair. Both were not even able to make it to the court in the last two sittings. They have been battling ailments that could not be treated in Nigeria, as posited by the foreign medical experts that earlier in the year assessed their health condition. Undoubtedly, both risk losing their lives had this favourable ruling been denied or further delayed.
“We are all aware of the blurred human rights records of the Nigerian government which hardly respects court orders in contravention of the constitutional provisions. Previously, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were still kept in detention incommunicado in spite of previous court judgement ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting their fundamental rights and further jeopardizing their deteriorating health. With this recent ruling by the court today, we will finalize urgent plans to transfer them to a more appropriate foreign health facility for further expert management as we await the response of the Nigerian government. We expect them to act urgently to respect the Nigerian constitution and the ruling of this honourable court to grant the duo instant permit to travel for their treatment.
“As a peaceful Movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of keeping faith with due process in seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government.
“We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, particularly some very senior citizens, diplomats, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and the general public who doggedly stood by us in the campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.”