Mounting concerns for Mubarak Bala’s wellbeing

Six weeks on from his arrest, Bala’s legal team have not been able to confirm his whereabouts or wellbeing

  • post Type / Action Alert
  • Date / 11 June 2020

President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, has been held in detention since his arrest on 27 April 2020. Apart from one brief telephone call which took place on 28 April, Bala has not had contact with the outside world. His whereabouts remain unclear, as does his well being.

Although several hearings have reportedly been held and/or scheduled over recent weeks, Bala has not appeared before the court in person, nor has he been granted access to his legal counsel, sparking concerns not only for the violation of his fundamental rights, but also his physical and mental wellbeing.

According to his legal team, the Nigerian authorities have repeatedly denied their attempts and requests to see him. Most recently, during a pre-trial hearing on 10 June, a local magistrate told his legal counsel to make its request to meet with Bala next week. The court was also informed that Bala had been transferred back to Kaduna state.

On 17 June 2020, a fundamental rights petition filed by Bala’s legal counsel is due to be heard before the Abuja High Court. The petition seeks to secure Bala’s release on the basis that his detention violates his rights to liberty, fair trial, freedom of thought and expression, and freedom of movement as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights law.

Humanists International continues to pursue confidential lines of high-level diplomacy with several governments around the world. This information is highly sensitive and therefore cannot be shared publicly.

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