Fears that Mubarak Bala will face a secret trial mount

  • post Type / Action Alert - Live
  • Date / 30 November 2020

On 20 November 2020, the legal team working for Nigerian humanist, Mubarak Bala, were alerted through unofficial channels to a possible move by the Kano state authorities to present their client in court. Over the course of the following week, the lawyers sought access to their client and to monitor proceedings, however their efforts faced multiple obstructions, sparking fears that Bala may be subjected to a secret trial.

James Ibor, lead lawyer for Mubarak Bala

Coordinator of Bala’s legal defence, James Ibor stated:

“The Kano State Government has consistently demonstrated to us and the world that Mubarak will not get a fair trial in Kano.”

Bala, who was arrested on 28 April in connection with a Facebook post, had been detained without charge for more than six months. Bala’s lawyers, who only gained access to their client a month ago, filed a fundamental rights petition before the Abuja High Court challenging the legality of Bala’s ongoing detention and arrest. A verdict is due in this case on 10 December 2020.

According to Bala’s legal team, their client was transferred to the premises of a local magistrate’s court on 23 November, where he was held in anticipation of a hearing. However, he was subsequently returned to prison upon the magistrate’s discovery that  Bala’s lawyers were present at the court. The magistrate adjourned the pre-trial hearing once again, this time until 16 December 2020.

Humanists International believes that Mubarak Bala is being targeted for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief, and calls for him to be charged or released; should he be charged, he should be transferred to a neutral territory in order to ensure his right to a fair trial.

International efforts to secure his release and safety remain ongoing. To take part in the campaign, see our:

WordPress theme developer - whois: Andy White London