Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and counsel to detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, yesterday, at a court hearing, said his client has lost one eye and was in need of urgent attention.
He also said bullets in the body of detained wife of the Islamic cleric were yet to be removed.
The trial of El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenatuddeen, held briefly at a Kaduna High Court before it was adjourned till March 25.
El-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, with the Federal Government refusing to release him despite several court rulings.
He was, however, denied bail by a judge, Gideon Kurada, during the last sitting on November 7, 2018.
Yesterday in court
At yesterday’s sitting, journalists were barred from entering the court and shortly after the case was adjourned, Falana told journalists that his client and his wife needed urgent medical attention.
Falana said he had applied to the court to grant El-Zakzaky bail because “he has already lost an eye and his wife needs urgent medical attention.”
He said since their arrest, both have not been given adequate medical attention, adding that the duo could only stand trial if they were healthy and alive.
Falana said the state government team, led by the state Solicitor-General, had applied to withdraw the case against two of the four defendants, including the third and fourth defendants standing trial with El-Zakzaky, while leaving only him and his wife.
According to Falana, “we have no objection to that, so the application was granted. We then applied for urgent medical attention for both of them (El-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.
“We, therefore, pray the court allow them to remain alive so as to stand trial, since they are ready for the trial,” adding that the duo could be flown abroad, if there were no medical facilities to cater for them.
His words: “In the case of Malam (El-Zakzaky), he has lost an eye in detention and is in the process of losing the second eye because he has developed glaucoma.
‘’In the case of the wife, the bullets in her body have not been ‘totally’ extracted after three years and she suffers excruciating pains.”
On whether his client and his wife will remain in the custody of the DSS, he said: “Both the government doctors and their private doctors have to sit to agree on the kind of medical treatment required for 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 Falana.