The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has criticised the manner in which the trial of some members of the organisation facing a number of charges has been handled.
It reported that on Sunday, a Magistrates Court that sat in Kaduna Central Prison read out some charges against the 191 members languishing in jail for the past two months.
Among the charges were illegal assembly, causing bodily harm, public disturbances and possession of firearms.
“The Islamic Movement objects to the way and manner the court had its first sitting in prison,” said Ibrahim Musa, President Media Forum of the Islamic Movement.
He said the court ought to have offered the general public its reason for the “unusual” sitting in prison, but did not.
“For the court to hide under the guise of ‘security reasons’ for it’s sitting in prison is a travesty of justice, since justice as they say, should not only be done, but seen to be done.”
Musa objected to the trial becoming a secret trial because under the law, he said, trial of the charges against the IMN members should be held in an open court where the public could witness it. “What happened yesterday in Kaduna Prison is akin to a secret trial where the public was denied entry to the court proceedings.”
Musa said more worrisome to the organisation was the charge of possession of firearms labelled against the suspects.
“The prosecutor even said a large cache of arms was recovered from some of the brothers that had to be taken to Lagos for expert analysis. We believe this is a trumped-up charge brought up against the IMN.”
The members were arrested in December following clashes with the army.
They, together with their leader, Ibraheem Zakzaky, were arrested for an alleged attempt on the life of Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
This claim has been strongly rejected by the Islamic Movement and several human rights organisations who argue that the attack was pre-planned.
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