The Federal High Court of Abuja, Nigeria has ruled that the President of the Nigerian Humanist Associaiton, Mubarak Bala, must be released immediately. Humanists UK has welcomed the ruling, and has urged Kano State to comply with it.
Bala has been held in Kano since April, after being accused of blasphemy. Kano operates under Sharia Law, and the crime of blasphemy is punishable by death. Bala was denied access to his lawyers until October. Since then the UK Government, UN officials, and UK parliamentarians have all repeatedly called for his release.
The latest Court ruling from Abuja is based on federal law, so the Kano State authorities should in theory comply with it. However, it is unclear whether they will. Humanists International has been coordinating international efforts for his release and working with his lawyers. It is presently seeking to clarify the situation.
Andrew Copson is Chief Executive of Humanists UK, and also President of Humanists International. Speaking as President, Andrew commented: ‘Today’s ruling by the High Court in Abuja is a victory for the human rights of all citizens in Nigeria. It is time our colleague Mubarak Bala was released immediately and unconditionally and we call upon leaders in Nigeria to respect due process and the rule of law.’
The Nigerian Humanist Association’s Leo Igwe commented: ‘This is welcome news, and we are cautiously optimistic about what it means. It is now imperative that the legal authorities in Nigeria comply with this ruling.’
For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.