Man detained without trial in Kano for being an atheist

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The President, Humanist Association of Nigeria, 35-year-old Mubarak Bala, has spent 200 days in detention without trial for being an atheist and allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammed.

The Punch reports that Bala was once confined to a mental institution for several months for his atheist views in 2014, was again arrested on April 28, 2020, for comparing the Prophet with Temitope Joshua, aka TB Joshua, who is the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, and describing Muslims as terrorists.

A lawyer, S.S. Umar, immediately wrote a petition to the Kano State Police Command, demanding the arrest of Bala for his inciting comment.

Bala was subsequently arrested at Gbabasawa Police Station in Kaduna State and transferred to the state police command.

According to sworn affidavits, the police in Kano denied Bala access to his lawyers for several months.

While several human rights organisations, including atheist alliance and Amnesty International protested his arrest, the police filed a First Information Report before a Magistrate’s Court in No Man’s Land, Kano, accusing Bala of breaching the Cyber Crime Act in order to obtain a remand order.

The report read in part, “That you, Mubarak Bala, ‘35 years old’ did sometimes in April 2020, via a Facebook post, characterised Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), his religion, Islam, and his Muslim followers as terrorists and posted same on your Facebook page named Mubarak Bala.”

The police subsequently obtained a remand order from the court to detain Bala, but no date was given for arraignment, thereby allowing police to hold him for months before transferring him to a correctional centre in Kano.

Bala’s lawyer, Mr. James Ibor, said a fundamental human rights suit had been filed before a court in Abuja.

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