‘Day of shame for Nigerian authorities’: Mubarak Bala sentenced to 24 years in prison

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Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested from his home in Kaduna State, northern Nigeria, on 28 April 2020 in connection with a series of Facebook posts that some deemed to be “blasphemous” and likely to cause a public disturbance.

Bala’s case has been subject to a series of procedural irregularities that have hindered his right to a fair trial. They include:

  • Being presented in court for the first time 644 days after his arrest;
  • Being denied access to medical care;
  • Being held without charge for 462 days;
  • Being denied access to his legal team for more than five months;
  • Court hearings have been subjected to repeated adjournments;
  • The Kano State Police Commissioner repeatedly refused to comply with an order issued by a Magistrate requiring the police to grant Bala access to his legal team;
  • The Kano State authorities have failed to comply with a ruling of the Abuja High Court that determined that Bala should be released on bail.