FEMI Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on Wednesday made a fresh case for the release of Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and wife Hajia Zainab Elzakzaky on health grounds.
Falana in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari titled “Fresh request for the release of Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and Hajia Zainab Elzakzaky, said Elzakzaky who already lost his left eye is again on the verge of losing the right eye while the case of the wife is said to be far worse than that of her husband.
“Sheik Elzakzaky already lost his left eye and he is on the verge of losing the right eye sequel to the brutal treatment meted out to him by the armed soldiers the State Security Service has denied him foreign medical treatment recommended by the local specialists who had attended to him. Even the alternative arrangement put in place by the family of the Sheik to bring eye specialists from abroad to treat him in custody has equally been rejected without any legal justification.
”It may interest Your Excellency to know that the medical condition of Mrs Zainab Elzakzaky is by far worse than that of her husband. For reasons best known to the State Security Service, some of the bullets lodged in her body during the brutal attack of December 14, 2015, have not been extracted up till now. In the circumstances, she has been subjected to excruciating pain and agony, on a daily basis. Her life which is currently in danger may be saved and prolonged if she is allowed to receive adequate medical attention without any further delay.”Falana said.
He said he was moved to urge President Buhari to consider ordering the release of the couple on health grounds since the federal government is not prepared to direct the State Security Service (SSS), to comply with the orders of the Federal High Court.
In making the request, Falana drew the attention of President Buhari to the fact that “the Judicial Commission of Enquiry which was set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the violent attack unleashed on the Shiites in December 2015 did not recommend the indefinite incarceration or prosecution of Sheik Elzakzaky and his wife for any criminal offence whatsoever.
“Therefore, they should be allowed to regain their fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”, he contended.
Falana recalled that the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, had on December 2, 2016, ordered the release of Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zainab Elzakzaky from the illegal custody of the State Security Service.
“The court also awarded them reparation of N50 million and directed the Federal Government to provide a temporary accommodation for the couple since it was established that the Nigerian Army and the Kaduna State government had burnt and demolished their private residence located at Zaria in Kaduna State.
“As the federal government is required to be humane and refrain from subjecting citizens to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment, we urge Your Excellency to terminate forthwith the physical and mental agony that has been inflicted on our clients by releasing them from illegal custody and allowing them to travel abroad for urgent medical attention,” he argued.