Nigeria: legal team file brief in appeal of Mubarak Bala
On 5 April 2022, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala was sentenced to 24 years in prison having pled guilty to charges of ‘conducting himself in a manner likely to cause breach of public peace’ in connection with a series of Facebook posts deemed ‘blasphemous’ by some. Humanists International understands that Bala was subjected to pressure in order to secure a guilty plea.
Arrested from his home in Kaduna state on 28 April 2020, Bala was held without charge for more than a year. He faced charges before the Kano State High Court in connection with 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.
In addition to being arbitrarily detained for 15 months, there have been several other violations of his rights to a fair trial, which include denying Bala access to his legal counsel until October 2020, failing to comply with a Federal High Court order to release Bala on bail, and consistent attempts to obstruct Bala’s legal team.
Humanists International fears that Bala is being targeted solely for having exercised his rights to freedom of belief and freedom of expression, which are protected under the Nigerian Constitution, and under international and regional instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory. The organization calls on the Nigerian authorities to quash his conviction, and release him immediately and unconditionally.
Please show your solidarity and support by donating to Mubarak's legal appeal today. With your support, we will continue to campaign for Mubarak's sentence to be overturned, and to ensure his safe release.
(You will be taken to our dedicated appeal page on JustGiving)