Blasphemy: Nigerian atheist spends 6 months in prison without trial
After being arrested months ago for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammed, a Nigerian atheist, Mubarak Bala has reportedly spent 200 days in detention without trial.
Recall that the 35-year-old atheist who 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 Prophet Muhammad with Prophet Temitope Joshua aka TB Joshua, who is the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, and describing Muslims as terrorists.
Bala was arrested after a lawyer identified as S.S. Umar wrote a petition to the Kano State Police Command against him. He was arrested at Gbabasawa Police Station in Kaduna State and transferred to Kano state police command.
Sworn affidavits reportedly showed that the police in Kano denied Bala access to his lawyers for several months. The police subsequently filed a First Information Report before a Magistrate’s Court in No Man’s Land, Kano, after accusing Bala of breaching the Cyber Crime Act in order to obtain a remand order.
The charges against him read;
“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.”
While the police obtained a remand order from the court to detain Bala, no date was given for his arraignment. It was also alleged that he was denied access to his wife and baby based on security reports that they could be attacked by fanatics in the deeply religious state.
Speaking to Punch, Bala’s lawyer Mr. James Ibor said a fundamental human rights suit had been filed before a court in Abuja. He added that he was denied access to his client for over four months.
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