International pressure grows on Nigerian authorites
Following a coordinated campaign led by Humanists International and its member organizations around the world, we can now confirm that official requests have been made to over 20 national governments around the world, urging them to intervene on behalf of detained Nigerian human rights defender Mubarak Bala.
As well as these high-profile public interventions, Humanists International action has also led to several other diplomatic interventions taking place confidentially.
This follows official requests sent by Humanists International to the Nigerian Justice Minister, and the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force. There is no doubt that pressure is building on the Nigerian authorities to take action.
Elizabeth O’Casey, Director of Advocacy, commented:
“I have had the pleasure of working with Mubarak in the past on drafting interventions to the UN and African Commission. He is a human rights defender and human rights principles have always been central to his advocacy work in Northern Nigeria. It’s heartening to see our community has been able to encourage action at all levels – from grassroots protests to diplomatic interventions. For our part, we will keep working with members and behind the scenes to ensure the fulfilment of his human rights, including the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary detention.”
To date, Bala’s precise whereabouts remain unknown as do any charges laid against him. Detained at his home in Kaduna state by detectives from Kano State Police Command on 28 April 2020, Bala was subsequently transferred to Kano state. Since his transfer, he has not been granted access to his legal representatives. While it remains unclear whether he has been charged with a crime, Bala’s detention appears to be linked to a complaint filed with Kano State Police Command on 27 April by law firm, S. S. Umar & Co., in which he was alleged to have insulted the Prophet Muhammad in his Facebook posts and provoked a disturbance contrary to the Cybercrimes Act and Kano State Penal Code, respectively.
Humanists International and its member organizations continue to call for the Nigerian authorities to clarify Bala’s legal status and whereabouts, grant him access to his legal representatives, and ensure his safety. Ultimately, we are appealing for his immediate and unconditional release.