SAN FRANCISCO, May 15, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s Shitte cleric and leader of the Muslim Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife were brought before a judge Tuesday in Kaduna to face charges bordering on culpable homicide and unlawful assembly.
The pro-Iranian cleric who has been in the custody of the DSS since 2015 after clashes between federal troops and his followers, made his second public appearance since he was taken into custody despite multiple court rulings approving his freedom.
“His health has been fading and if you had an opportunity to see him today it is obvious and clear,” Zakzaky’s lawyer Maxwell Kyon told AFP.
“He needed a stick to get around,” Kyon said, adding that Zakzaky’s eyesight was poor.
“His wife, she walks with a stick, she was shot severely on her leg.”
Kyon said that this was the first time he had been able to talk to Zakzaky after the court ordered the cleric should have access to his legal team.
“We were only able to speak with him and his wife for a period of five to ten minutes,” Kyon said.
The courtroom was guarded by soldiers and members of the public and media were not allowed inside, according to IMN spokesman, the AFP said in its report.
Zakzaky was supposed to formally be charged but because other defendants were not present the case was adjourned until June 21, said Dari Bayero, director of public prosecution for Kaduna State.
“We couldn’t go on because the other defendants haven’t been served,” said Bayero.
“He (Zakzaky) was asked to be kept in custody of the state security service,” Bayero said.
Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties and has lost the sight of one eye following the 2015 clashes, has been at loggerheads with Nigeria’s secular authorities for years because of his call for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution.
His supporters have held a series of protests in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja in recent weeks to demand his release and have had a series of standoffs with police.