AFRICA

Ex-Muslim arrested for blasphemy

Nigeria: ISHR demands immediate release of Mubarak Bala

Frankfurt am Main/Abuja, 29 April 2020 – Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested yesterday by the police in Kaduna on charges of blasphemy.  The arrest of the former Muslim followed a petition by Muslim lawyers to the police commissioner in Kano state, reports the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR).

Photo: Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria

Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria © private

Bala is accused of belittling Islam on his Facebook page. The ex-Muslim was arrested by plainclothes officers and has since been detained by police in Gbabasawa, Kaduna.

“The arrest of Mubarak Bala is an attack on freedom of speech. We expect him to be handed over to Kano State Police Command soon. Kano is governed by Sharia law. Blasphemy is therefore punishable by death. Mubarak Bala is in great danger,” explains ISHR Africa Director Dr Emmanuel Ogbunwezeh.

The petition signed by an S.S. Umar says:

“We are filing this complaint against a Mubarak Bala from Layin Massalaccin Bilai, Karkasara district, Kano. The said Mubarak Bala was born and raised as a Muslim, but has to leave Islam in 2014 in favour of atheism. Since then he has been writing on his Facebook page things that are provocative and annoying for Muslims.”

The ISHR has seen a copy of this petition.

Ogbunwezeh:

“In the past weeks Bala has already received death threats from Islamists, among them even an imam. Even a police officer publicly threatened to kill Bala if he found him. Alleged blasphemers could be murdered by extremists at any time. He must be taken to safety as soon as possible.”