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Kaduna court denies El-Zakzaky bail in murder case

The Shiite leader is on trial for unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Shiite leader

The spiritual leader of the Shia Muslim sect, also called Shiites, is on trial for unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.

El-Zakzaky was arrested in Zaria, Kaduna in 2015 after soldiers killed over 300 members of the sect after allegedly throwing stones at the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, an act declared by the Army to be an assassination attempt.

During an invasion of his home, he was arrested and imprisoned with his wife, Zeenah, without any official court charges until he was charged to court in May 2018.

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During the hearing of the sect leader's bail application on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, presiding Judge, Justice Gideon Kurada, rejected the application. In his ruling, he noted that El-Zakzaky has failed to show any substantial medical evidence to back his claims for bail on health grounds.

The case was then adjourned to January 22, 2019 for commencement of trial.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had previously ordered El-Zakzaky's release from custody in a December 2016 ruling, but the order was ignored by the government.

This has led to allegations of persecution by members of the sect who have also taken to the streets several times to protest El-Zakzaky's detention, leading to clashes with authorities, most notably the Army.

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Dozens of Shiites killed in clashes with Army

400 IMN members were arrested by officers of the Nigeria Police Force for disturbance of public peace and law and order in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. They were alleged to have set a Police vehicle on fire, and arrested with 31 bottles of petrol bombs and other dangerous weapons.

A previous clash on Saturday, October 27, where the Army accused Shiite protesters of attacking a convoy carrying ammunitions, resulted in the death of three people, with a couple of soldiers also wounded.

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The protesters returned on Monday, October 29 and got involved in another clash with the Army and the Police. While the Army reported that another three Shiites were killed, the Shia sect claimed around 50 were killed by troops.

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