El-Zakzaky blind, in need of urgent medical attention- Falana

Femi Falana
Femi Falana (SAN)

Femi Falana, counsel to the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky on Tuesday at a court hearing said his client has lost one eye and is in need of urgent attention.

He also said bullets in the body of the equally detained wife of the Islamic cleric were yet to be removed.

The trial of Mr Zakzaky and his wife Zeenatuddeen held briefly Tuesday at a Kaduna high court before it was adjourned to March 25.

Mr Zakzaky is currently facing trial over allegations of unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and culpable homicide filed against him by Kaduna State government.

The IMN leader has been in detention since December 2015 after his members clashed with the military in Zaria.

The Nigerian government has refused to release him despite several court rulings granting him bail.

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He was however denied bail by a judge, Gideon Kurada during the last sitting on November 7, 2018.

During Tuesday’s sitting, journalists were barred from entering the court.

Shortly after the case was adjourned, Mr Falana told journalists that his client and his wife needed urgent medical attention.

According to him, he had applied to the court to grant Mr Zakzaky bail because ”he has already lost an eye and his wife needs urgent medical attention”.

Mr Falana said since their arrest, both have not been given adequate medical attention.
He said the duo can only stand trial if they are healthy and ‎alive.

Mr ‎Falana said the state government team led by the state solicitor general had applied to withdraw the case against two of the four defendants ”that is the third and fourth defendants” that are standing trial with Mr Zakzaky, leaving only him and his wife.

“We have no objection to that so the application was granted,” he said. ”We then applied for urgent medical attention for both of them (Zakzaky and his wife), on the grounds that since both of them were shot by the Army on December 14, 2015, they have not been given adequate medical attention.

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“We, therefore, pray the court allows them to remain alive so as to stand trial since they are ready for the trial,” Mr Falana added.

He also said the duo can be flown abroad if there are no medical facilities to cater for them.

“In the case of malam (Zakzaky), he has lost an eye in detention because and is in the process of losing the second eye because he has developed glaucoma. In the case of the wife, the bullets on her have not been ‘totally’ extracted after three years and she suffers excruciating pains,” Mr Falana said.

On whether his client and his wife will remain in the custody of the DSS, Mr Falana said:‎ “both the government doctors and their private doctors have to sit to agree on the kind of medical treatment required to treat them. We made it clear to them (government) that they (duo) have to be alive to stand trial,”

The case was later adjourned to March 25 to enable the embattled Shiite leader and his wife get medical attention according to Mr Falana.

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