Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) who were detained since 2015 after the government killed hundreds of their comrades following a right of way dispute in Kaduna state were found not guilty by a court on Friday.
The acquittal was a victory to freedom of religion in Africa’s most populous nation and a blow to rising dictatorship where Shiites have accused Saudi Arabia of raging a proxy war with Iran on the continent.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has today, Friday, 21/2/2020 again secured a favourable judgement in the case brought before the Kaduna State High Court against the last batch of its members detained since December 2015 following the heinous attacks by the Nigerian Army in Zaria. The court discharged and acquitted all the 100 remaining accused members and vindicated the Islamic Movement, thereby absolving both the leadership and membership of any blame in the events leading up to the Zaria massacre,” IMN said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.
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“This concludes the four-year legal battle, in which the Kaduna state government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 that led to the killing of over a thousand innocent souls, and a secret mass grave burial. Of the survivors of that horrendous attack falsely accused by the Kaduna state government, a Kaduna State High Court had earlier discharged and acquitted about a hundred of them since the 31st of July, 2018. They all stood trial for sundry offenses, including culpable homicide punishable by death.
“Today again, the Kaduna state government has however again failed in court after a fair trial. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity. This judgement is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution.
“With this victory today, the false charges filed against the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife of aiding and abetting the alleged culpable homicide by these same discharged persons have been punctured for good. This total and comprehensive victory in court is a further proof that the Islamic Movement and its leader have been only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the government. We therefore urge the Kaduna state government to swallow its pride and withdraw the fake charges it filed against the Sheikh and his wife, and release them immediately.
“We give praises to the Almighty for this successful outing in court. We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless,” read the statement signed by spokesman Ibrahim Musa.