Atheist Mubarak Bala sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for blasphemy

MUBARAK Bala, a self-acclaimed atheist has been sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for blasphemy.

Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was sentenced at the Kano High Court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to an 18-count charge bordering on incitement and breach of public peace levelled against him.


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Bala was arrested at his home in Kaduna in 2020 following a petition by a lawyer, S.S Umar.

He was subsequently taken to Kano, where complaints of blasphemy and incitement were lodged against him.

He was accused of making outrageous and provoking social media posts against Islam, Allah and Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.

Before his sentence, the presiding judge Farouk Lawan had asked Bala if he knew the implications of his guilty plea, to which the he responded affirmatively.

He, however, told the court that the intent of his social media posts was not to cause violence.

He promised not to repeat the blasphemous posts in future.

However, Bala’s lawyer, James Ibor, who had earlier pleaded with him to reconsider his position, told the court that his client pleaded guilty to the charges out of fear and frustration.

An Abuja Federal High Court had earlier ruled against the arrest and detention of Bala in 2020.






     

     

    The court, in its judgment on a fundamental right enforcement suit judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, declared that Bala’s detention was illegal and ordered his immediate release.

    The court also ruled that the denial of his ability to choose his own legal representation constituted gross infringements of his rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, expression and movement.

    It awarded damages of N250,000 damages in his favour.

    But the judgment has been ignored by the authorities.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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