Friday, July 1, 2022
HomeKano court jails atheist 24 years for ‘blasphemous’ Facebook post

Kano court jails atheist 24 years for ‘blasphemous’ Facebook post

A Kano State High Court on Tuesday sentenced an atheist, Mubarak Bala, to 24-year imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the 18 counts levelled against him.

Bala, who is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested at his home in Kaduna on April 28, 2020, and brought to Kano, where complaints of blasphemy and incitement were lodged against him.

The defendant had in 2020 posted a statement considered to be blasphemous on his Facebook page, which caused an outrage among Muslims.

There was a campaign for his release or trial, with activists saying he was out of touch with his wife and lawyer.

But appearing before Justice Farouk Lawan of Kano High Court 4, Audu Bako Secretariat, on Tuesday, Bala pleaded guilty to all the charges.

When the judge asked him if he knew the implication of his guilty plea, Bala refused to change his plea.

His lawyer, James Ibor, had earlier tried to persuade him to change the plea, but he (Bala) insisted that he was guilty of the charges.

The lawyer cited frustration and fear as reasons for his client’s guilty plea, saying Bala had been in prison for two years.

In his allocutus, the convict said his social media post was not to cause violence.

Justice Lawan thereafter sentenced him to 24-year imprisonment.

He, however, ordered that the jail term should commence from the date of his arrest.

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