On 28 April, Mubarak Bala, a prominent Nigerian humanist, was arrested by police officers at his home in Kaduna, north-western Nigeria, and accused of blasphemy after he wrote a post on Facebook expressing his beliefs on Monday, 27 April. On 30 April he was transferred to Kano, a conservative region in northern Nigeria where religious dissent is unpopular. He is currently being detained in solitary confinement at Kano state police command. He has been denied access to his family and his lawyer. According to his associates, he has been subjected to ill-treatment in police custody.
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President of Nigeria
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Twitter: @MBuhari @NigeriaGov
Dear President Buhari,
I write to express my concern about Mubarak Bala, a prominent humanist, who is currently in detention at Kano state police command.
On 28 April, Mubarak Bala was arrested by police officers at his home in Kaduna and accused of blasphemy after writing a post on Facebook expressing his beliefs on 27 April. He was arrested and detained at Gbabasawa Police Station, Kaduna. He was held incommunicado, and his laptop and phones were seized.
On 30 April, he was transferred to Kano, outside his home state, where he is currently being detained in police custody. Since then, his family and his lawyer have been denied access to him. Furthermore, according to his associates, he has been subjected to ill-treatment in police custody.
I am extremely concerned that if Mubarak Bala is charged under Kano state’s Sharia law, he will face the death penalty. It appears that transferring Mubarak Bala to Kano, where Sharia law is practiced, is a premeditated plan to ensure that he is brought under Sharia law. Mubarak Bala’s arrest and detention is in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as outlined in Section 38 of the Nigerian constitution of 1999 (as amended).
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Mubarak Bala; pending his release, ensure he has regular access to his family and lawyer, and that he is not ill-treated; and ensure his safety and that of his family.