Femi Falana (SAN) has berated the Kaduna State Government over fresh conditions it issued over the permission granted by the court to Sheikh Ibrahim El-zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, to embark on a medical trip abroad.
Naija News reports that the Kaduna state govt had kicked against every move by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), to seek asylum in India.
This was made known in a statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, commissioner for internal security and home affairs.
They stated that steps must be taken to ensure the El-Zakzaky and Zeenah, his wife, must not become fugitives from justice.
The government asked the IMN leader not to claim asylum or the status of political prisoners in India.
The Kaduna State government had expressed concern that El-zakzaky and his wife may seek asylum in India.
“The Kaduna State Government respects the right of anyone to seek treatment anywhere in the world, even for malaria or a common cold, so long as they are paying for it. But in the case of persons facing trial for serious offences, necessary safeguards are required to ensure that such persons do not become fugitives from justice or frustrate trial by claiming asylum or the status of a political prisoner in the host country,” the statement read.
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, rights activist and lawyer to the IMN leader, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) said in a statement: “I thought that the Kaduna State government had planned to appeal against the order of the Honourable Darius Khobo granting leave to the El-Zakzakys to travel to India for urgent medical treatment under the supervision of the government.
“I hope that the plan to pursue an appeal in the case has been shelved as the Court of Appeal has ruled that you cannot stay the execution of orders of this nature. That remains the position of the law as espoused in the case of Mowarin v Nigerian Army, which was decided under a military dictatorship in the country.
“The so-called agreement is totally alien to the penal code and the administration of criminal justice law of Kaduna State. Hence, the agreement is not brought under any substantive or adjectival law.
“My colleagues in the Ministry of Justice are not unaware of the position of the law that an agreement cannot vary or modify the order of a competent court. It is unfortunate that some highly placed public officers are so hell-bent on abrogating the fundamental rights which have been fought for and won by Nigerians, even under the British colonial regime.
“For instance, the Prison Ordinance was amended in 1917 to allow the family members or friends of prison inmates to remove them from prison and take them out for medical treatment if the prison facilities could not cater for any terminal illness. That provision has been incorporated in Regulation 12 made pursuant to the Prisons Act.
“In this instant case, the court did not release the El-Zakzakys to their family members but that they should be treated in a foreign hospital under the supervision of the government.
“Since the Department of Service Services (DSS), which has the custody of the El-Zakzakys, has announced on behalf of the Federal Government that the court order would be obeyed, the so-called terms of “agreements” of the Kaduna State government should be ignored because it is the height of provocative contempt.
“It takes two to tango. A party in a case cannot dream of some weird ideas, parade them as an agreement and impose the same on a court and the other parties.”