…. As Shi’te women vow to defend sect with their blood
Spain’s Princess Cristina is due to appear in court on fraud charges – the first member of the country’s royal family to be put on trial.
She is charged with being an accomplice in an alleged embezzlement scam involving her husband and 16 other defendants, who all denies the charges.
Princess Cristina, 50, faces eight years in jail if found guilty by a three-member panel of judges.
The trial in Palma, Majorca is seen as an embarrassment for the royal family.
On Monday, King Felipe’s sister will make history in front of millions of TV viewers across Spain as the first royal family member to face criminal charges since the restoration of the monarchy in the 1970s.
Princess Cristina is accused of being an accomplice to tax fraud, along with her husband Inaki Urdangarin.
His supposedly non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation was allegedly used as a vehicle to win falsely inflated contracts from regional government bodies, before channelling the money to personal accounts via tax havens.
The amount of public funds paid to the Noos Institute has been calculated at €5.6m (£4.2m; $6.1m).
Princess Cristina was a board member at the foundation and, with Mr Urdangarin, co-owned a real estate company called Aizoon, which prosecutors say was used to launder embezzled funds.
The case was launched in 2010 by a judge investigating corruption among Balearic Islands officials. It has become highly symbolic of perceived corruption among Spain’s elites, including the royal family.
Last year, King Felipe stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma, but she remains sixth in line to the throne.
In the meantime, Shi’te women in Jos, Plateau State, have condemned the continued detention of their leader, Shiek Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife and other people by the security agencies, saying they are ready to defend their religion with their blood, their possession and their lives.
The women, who stated this during a peaceful procession, held in Jos, Plateau State, also called for the release of corpses of those that were killed so that they could be buried according to Islamic rites,
The procession took off from their headquarters at Angwa Rogo and marched through Bauchi road to the Central Mosque holding the posters of their religious leader, chanting messages for his release and for justice to be done.
Speaking to journalists as they arrived the Central Mosque on Masalachi Jummah Way, one of the followers, Malama Hajia Lubabatu Ladan, who led the women group, all dressed in black, said ‘‘we are ready to use our blood, our life and all we have to defend our religion because that is what Allah has decreed and the Nigerian Army should know they have attacked harmless people and He would revenge for us.’’
According to her, the procession was to show their solidarity with their movement and to condemn what happened between December 12 and 14, 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State, adding that the military’s explanation was merely cooked up to justify the barbaric act.
“The soldiers had said our people blocked road and prevented them from passing through. But we believe that the whole thing was pre-planned because they killed those they said blocked the road and entered our headquarters and killled our men, women and children and bombed the place,’’ she stated
BBC with additional report from Tribune