US Congressman calls for pardon of Mubarak Bala
Established in honor of the late Congressman Tom Lantos – who was a leading advocate for human rights during his tenure in Congress – the Lantos Commission’s Defending Freedoms Project allows members of Congress to shine a light on prisoners of conscience across the globe and encourage accountability for unjust treatment.
On taking up the case, Rep. Raskin stated:
“Authoritarian regimes use blasphemy laws to imprison and torture people who dare to engage in critical thinking and honestly express their beliefs. Bala’s case highlights the urgent need to defend freedom of expression, freedom of thought and human rights around the world.
“Nigeria, it is time to end the theocratic persecution of Mubarak Bala. President Buhari, I urge you to immediately issue a pardon for Mr. Bala before your term ends this May.”
President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, is currently serving a 24-year prison sentence following his conviction for causing a public disturbance under Sections 210 and 114 of the Kano State Penal Code, in connection with a series of Facebook posts deemed to be “blasphemous” by some. Mubarak Bala is currently appealing his conviction.
Representative Raskin’s adoption of Bala represents an opportunity to build on international advocacy efforts taking place globally. Bala’s case has also been adopted by Freedom Now, Freedom House’s Political Prisoners Initiative, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. In April 2023, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the use of “blasphemy” laws and calling for the release of Mubarak Bala and singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. In April 2023, a coalition of NGOs led by Humanists International submitted an updated petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, seeking their expert opinion on the case.
Humanists International fears that Nigerian humanist Mubarak 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.
Additionally, Humanists International urges the Federal Republic of Nigeria to repeal all blasphemy and de facto blasphemy provisions.
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)