More facts have emerged as to the reasons why the Kaduna High Court, presided by Justice Gideon Isa Kurada refused to grant Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife bail last week. The court sitting last Wednesday denied the bail application filed by the counsel to the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
Justice Kurada, while agreeing that the defense counsels showed exceptional circumstances in that they established that the ailing Sheikh had been held for over two years without trial, they have failed to establish that the Sheikh and his wife are sick, and therefore decided to exercise discretion against the Sheikh and his wife seeing that, according to the Judge, there exist certain factors that make the grant of bail in this case a little risky.
Justice Kurada feels that the Sheikh may not come to stand his trial and also that from the behaviour of the 3rd and 4th defendants in the case, he thinks if the Sheikh was not in custody, he probably may also not have made himself available to stand his trial.
He also believes that the Sheiks act of refusing to collect the processes when the initial attempt was made to serve him and his general demeanour demonstrates his hostility to the case and his unwillingness to stand trial.
It was a lot surprising to observers who pointed out that the Justice has erred in law in view of the fact that there was no doubt whatsoever that the Sheikh and his wife were very ill and require urgent medical attention.
It is common knowledge that both the Sheikh and his wife were severally shot by the rampaging Nigerian Soldiers in the events leading up to their arrests and have not quite received appropriate and adequate medical care they deserve. Consequently, the Sheikh had lost one eye and is at risk of losing his sight completely if action is not timely taken.
Additionally, it is also common knowledge that the Sheikh suffered a stroke in detention in January this year, which has led the Sheikh to be wearing a neck collar to support his head and this was responsible for the latest escalation of the campaign for his release and the mounting of more pressure on the government to present him to the public via an arranged television outing.
Similarly, the wife has been experiencing excruciating pains because of the shrapnel of bullets still lodged in her body since December 2015. As a result, she is barely able to walk with the support of a walking stick and cannot stand for a prolonged period of time.
On the trial itself, there was nothing to suggest the refusal of the Sheikh to stand trial, seeing that the charges against him have all been previously thrown out by another Kaduna High Court when they were brought against over 100 others earlier. Besides, despite all the attempts by the government to stall the case and thereby further prolong the detention of the duo for as long as it is possible, did not make the Sheikh show urgency or desperation in getting out. Even the inclusion of the 3rd and 4th defendants was deliberately done by the government to stall the case.
It is, therefore, more probable that the judge was facing some form of mental torture not to release the Sheikh, even on bail. The government had severally harassed and indirectly intimidated him since the commencement of this case. In all the days the case was to be heard, heavily armed soldiers cordoned off the court, making sure they intimidate all including the lawyers and the judge from easy access to the court in order to give it a semblance of insecurity all over the place.
At some point, the case couldn’t proceed because the judge was knocked down by an unknown hit and run tricycle rider. At some other times, the state said they could not bring the Sheikh and his wife to court because they didn’t have enough security men. All these intimidating tactics appeared to have made a great impact on the presiding judge believing that he was dealing with some very dangerous person, and should he grant bail, the Sheikh and his wife would probably not present themselves for the trial.