El-Zakzaky, wife to jet out for check-up, face fresh terrorism charges

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, are planning to embark on a foreign trip for medical check-up, Saturday PUNCH learnt on Friday.

It was gathered that both husband and wife would use the opportunity to evaluate their health status, which a source close to the Islamic leader claimed had deteriorated as a result of their long stay in prison.

El-Zakzaky and his wife are said to be staying in Abuja since they were acquitted by a Kaduna high court of charges of culpable homicide.

There were rumours that the couple had travelled outside the country on Friday, but the spokesperson for the IMN, Abdullahi Mohammed, denied it.

“Sheikh and his wife are still around, they have not travelled. I will update you if there is any development,” he told one of our correspondents.

However, another source close to the Kaduna-based Islamic leader said, “He will travel soon. He and his wife need to see their doctors. They have to be attended to soon.”

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government has filed fresh charges against El-Zakzaky bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony allegedly perpetrated against the state and the federal governments.

Justice Gideon Kurada of Kaduna High Court, on Wednesday, discharged El-Zakzaky and Zeenah from the eight charges pressed against them by the state government for lack of merit.

Apparently not satisfied with the judgment, the state government, on Thursday, filed seven fresh charges against the IMN leader at the Federal High Court.

The state Director of Public Prosecution, Daris Bayero, said with the fresh charges, the court would consequently issue an order for the arrest of El-Zakzaky to answer the charges.

He explained further that some of the actions of the IMN leader upon which he was being charged with fresh allegations preceded 2015.

In a related development, about three days after the El-Zakzaky and his wife’s release, their son, Mohammed Zakzaky, on Friday, said his parents were grateful to those who supported them amid their protracted detention.

Mohammed, in a statement obtained by journalists in Abuja, noted that the IMN leader and his wife spent 2,055 days in prison, in spite of a pronouncement of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

He said, “As you are aware, my father, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and mother, Zeenah Ibraheem, have recently regained their freedom, after the Kaduna State High Court discharged and acquitted them of all charges filed by the current Kaduna State Government.

“After expressing our profound gratitude to Allah, the Almighty, we wish to also express our appreciation to all those that stood by us during this ordeal that has lasted 2,055 days, nearly six years.

“I, along with our entire family, wish to especially thank those men, women and children who stood firm in the face of injustice, risking life and limb to demand justice and freedom for them, both inside and outside this country.”

“Of special note are the heroes who marched daily in Abuja non-stop for five years, a monumental act of sacrifice seldom heard of and certainly unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.”

Mohammed also appreciated Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and especially The Islamic Human Rights Commission, the media, and human rights lawyer, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), among others.

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