Following months of delays, Mubarak Bala is to have his day in court
Arrested from his home in Kaduna state on 28 April 2020, Bala has been held without charge ever since. After spending more than five months in detention in an undisclosed location, Bala was finally granted access to his chosen legal counsel in October. The Abuja High Court is expected to deliver its ruling on Bala’s Fundamental Rights Petition on 21 December 2020, following repeated delays. A second petition is currently proceeding through the courts.
Although a hearing had been scheduled to take place on 20 April, an industrial strike by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria led to the complete paralysis of the courts system. The strike was suspended on 9 June.
Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, commented:
“Humanists International is relieved to hear that Bala’s petition to have his case transferred to a neutral territory will, at last, be heard. Bala has already spent too long behind bars. It is time he was reunited with his wife and child.
We must not forget that Mubarak will have already spent 432 days in illegal detention by the time this hearing takes place.”
On the one-year anniversary of his arrest, a coalition of 89 concerned individuals and organizations wrote a letter to the Governor of Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, calling on him to release Bala immediately and unconditionally. Humanists International continues to await a reply.
Humanists International fears that Mr Bala is being targeted solely for his exercise of his rights of freedom of belief and freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and international and regional instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.