“We must keep up the pressure,” says Leo Igwe on case of Mubarak Bala

  • post Type / Campaigns
  • Date / 6 December 2021

Nigerian human rights activist and President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, has now been detained in a Kano State correctional facility for 587 days. Bala faces up to two years in prison, if convicted of the 10 counts of causing a public disturbance in connection to Facebook posts he is alleged to have made over the course of April 2020, which are deemed to have caused a public disturbance due to their “blasphemous” content.

Leo Igwe, Chairman of Humanist Association of Nigeria

Founding member of the Humanist Association of Nigeria and renowned humanist advocate who has been spearheading the campaign for Bala’s release, Leo Igwe said:

“The support of the international community is essential to ensure that Mubarak is kept safe and treated fairly. It is thanks to international pressure and support that Mubarak has been granted access to his lawyers, a struggle that took some five months of work. But it is worth remembering that, without donations from the international community, Mubarak would not have legal representation. Mubarak’s family lost their sources of income following his arrest.”

“As his case moves into its second phase, where we expect him to face trial before the Kano High Court, I cannot stress enough that we must keep up the pressure and our support for him. We cannot let Kano State win this war of attrition that they are waging upon us.”

Since his arrest, Humanists International has been supporting efforts to secure Bala’s release, including by raising £29,689.45 in funds. Thank you so much to all of you who have supported our fundraising efforts so far. We want to thank you on behalf of Mubarak and his family, and in the interest of openness and transparency, give you an idea of how your funds have contributed to the campaign to have him released.

So far we have spent £24,446.31GBP. The funds have been spent to:

  • retain a team of four lawyers based around Nigeria. They have:
    • attended 9 court hearings relating to three legal cases,
    • Held 7 case conferences,
    • filed more than 20 pages of briefs,
    • visited their client 3 times,
    • held 10 meetings with police, ministry and correctional facility officials.
  • support Bala’s immediate family with direct costs and expenses.

This is all in addition to the support which Mubarak has received from our core staff time – which is not included in the restricted fund calculation.

Amina Ahmed, wife of Mubarak Bala

Speaking to Humanists International’s Humanists at Risk Coordinator, Amina Ahmed, Mubarak Bala’s wife stated:

“I really want to thank Humanists International for your support and for not giving up on Mubarak. I’m really grateful for everything you have been doing. I see that the humanist community has not given up on Mubarak, that the struggle is still on, and that you are supporting us in any way possible”.

All that means that we have £5,243.14 remaining in the Mubarak Bala Legal fund, although we do expect that we will need to raise more. While we continue to be hopeful and fight for his release, the Kano State authorities appear to be doing all they can to hamper our efforts; there is a real likelihood that our fight will have to continue into next year. As Mubarak’s case continues through the courts in Kano, his safety and that of his lawyers is paramount. A large proportion of our budget will therefore cover the retention of security personnel.

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 the case against him to be dropped, for Bala to be released immediately and unconditionally, and for the Nigerian authorities to ensure his safety upon his release. To this end, we urge the Kano State Governor to intervene on behalf of Bala to compel the Kano State Attorney General and Kano State Commissioner for Police to protect Bala’s human rights.

Humanists International calls on help from the humanist community once again. Mubarak Bala needs our financial support to retain the services of a professional team of lawyers to continue defending him until he is free and safe. Even a small contribution goes a long way, please consider donating here.

Donate now to help us cover Mubarak Bala’s legal expenses

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