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Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

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    Friday, 2 December 2016

    Court orders release of El-Zakzaky, award N50m damages

    An Abuja division of the Federal High court Friday ordered the release of the leader of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

    El-Zakzaky was arrested by the military December 14, 2015, after a clash between members of the movement and soldiers, where some 340 persons were feared killed.

    But, the IMN leader approached the court to demand his release, months after he was arrested without being charged and demanded that the court should declare his arrested and subsequent detention as violation of his fundamental rights.

    Femi Falana, counsel to the leader urged the court to declare the continued detention of his client without charging him as unlawful.

    Justice Gabriel Kolawole, while delivering judgment on the case rejected the submission made by Tijjani Gazali, counsel to the department of state security service (DSS) that El-Zakzaky was kept in protective custody of the Nigerian secret service.
    His words:  “The decision to hold the Islamic cleric and his wife for their safety was not based on law”.

    But, the judge said “I have not been shown any incident report or any complaint lodged by residents around the neighbourhood that the applicant has become a nuisance to his neigbourhood.”

    He said the decision of the government to hold the applicant for so long amounted to great danger.

    Citing the death of former leader of the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, the judge said; “If the applicant dies in custody which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths”.

    Kolawole said the government should within 45 days release the applicant and his families to the police, who shall within 24 hours, take them guarded by escort to a safe place.

    He added that the SSS will pay a fine of N25 million each to El-Zakzaky and his wife making a total of N50 million.

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