THE AMNESTY International has called on Kano State Government to quash the conviction of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a 22-year-old musician, who was sentenced to death by an Upper Shari’a Court for blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.
In a statement made available to The ICIR, the rights group said the conviction of Sharif was close to a grotesque imitation of the way the justice system was supposed to operate, adding that the musician must be released.
“This is a travesty of justice. There are serious concerns about the fairness of his trial; and the framing of the charges against him based on his music.
“Furthermore the imposition of the death penalty following an unfair trial violates the right to life. Yahaya Sharif-Aminu must be released immediately and unconditionally,” Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International Nigeria Country Director said.
Sharif was in August sentenced to death by hanging in a verdict delivered by Aliyu Kani, the presiding judge on the case at the Kano Upper Shari’a Court.
His conviction was passed following the release of a song he shared on Whatsapp in March, alleged to be blasphemous against Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
Sharif’s conviction has sparked controversy on social media, with many social media users speaking against the judgement.
However, some people have vocalised their support for it, including Bashir Ahmad, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media.
In 2015, Ahmad in a tweet announced his support for death penalty for blasphemy. The presidential aide disclosed that it was his belief and he would never support otherwise or keep silent.
Ahmad who came under criticism for his stale tweet is yet to recant his statement.