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Legal team seek relocation of Mubarak Bala to neutral territory

  • post Type / Action Alert - Live
  • Date / 2 فوریه 2021

On 27th January 2021, the legal team representing detained humanist, Mubarak Bala, filed a petition seeking his relocation to Abuja in order to ensure a fair trial. 

The move follows the welcome ruling by Honourable Justice I. E. Ekwo presiding over proceedings before the Federal High Court in Abuja, which confirmed that Bala’s ongoing detention violates his rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of movement enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, was arrested on 28 April 2020 in connection with a Facebook post. He has subsequently been detained without charge for more than eight months. Bala’s lawyers, who only gained access to their client in October 2020, filed a fundamental rights petition before the Abuja High Court challenging the legality of Bala’s ongoing detention and arrest. 

Bala’s legal team remain concerned that their client would not receive a fair trial should be be formally brought to trial in Kano State, where the population is predominantly Muslim, and Sharia courts operate alongside secular courts. Further, predominantly Muslim states have frequently seen riots, violence and murder after blasphemy accusations, sometimes against individual Muslims accused, but with potential for wider violence when the accused is Christian. For these reasons, Bala’s legal team believe that the transferral of Bala to stand trial in a more neutral location would not only safeguard their client’s rights, but prevent violence in the state at large.

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 transferred to a neutral territory in order to ensure his right to a fair trial.


Background

President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, was arrested on 28 April in connection with a Facebook post. He has subsequently been detained without charge for more than seven months. Bala’s lawyers, who only gained access to their client in October, filed a fundamental rights petition before the Abuja High Court challenging the legality of Bala’s ongoing detention and arrest. Humanists International believes that Mubarak Bala is being targeted for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief.

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


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