Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, on Sunday, August 1,criticised the Kaduna State Government for filing fresh terrorism charges against the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat.
1st News had reported that El-Zakzaky and his wife were freed of all charges levelled against them by the Kaduna State Government on July 28, five years after being detained by the Department of Security Service (DSS).
However, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration filed a fresh seven charges; against the IMN leader at the Federal High Court 24 hours later.
Falana, who is the lead counsel to El-Zakzaky, described the development; as a “desperate bid by the Kaduna State Government to frustrate the release of the defendants from further incarceration.”
“The new charge was maliciously filed when the Kaduna State Government anticipated; that the ruling fixed for July 28 in respect of our no case submission would succeed,” Falana said.
Falana also praised the trial judge for “displaying exceptional courage and judicial independence; amid what he described as intimidation by the forces of oppression”.
“In view of the foregoing, we wish to state, without any fear of contradiction; that the filing of the new charge of terrorism and treasonable felony by the Kaduna State Government; has no effect whatsoever on the valid and subsisting order of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kudura; for the unconditional release of the defendants from prison custody.
“In the same vein, the filing of the proposed notice of appeal by the Kaduna State Government will not constitute a stay of action; with respect to the order for the release of the defendants. Therefore, as law-abiding citizens, the defendants are free to continue to breathe the air of freedom.
“However, since the new charge has failed to achieve its oppressive objective of frustrating the release of the couple; from further incarceration we call on the Kaduna State Government to discontinue it without any delay.”