An atheist, Mubarak Bala, has remained in the custody of the Kano State Police Command for 40 days without trial for allegedly blaspheming the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
Bala was arrested on April 28, 2020 in Kaduna State following a petition by a lawyer, Salisu Umar, accusing him of posting blasphemous messages on his Facebook wall.
He was subsequently transferred to the Kano State Police Command where he has remained till date.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Kano State, Haruna Abdullahi, refused to comment on the matter on Sunday.
However, Umar, who wrote the petition against Bala, said the suspect had remained in custody because courts in Kano were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said if Bala was released, some irate youths could lynch him for blaspheming the prophet.
The lawyer said, “All the courts in Kano are not operating because of Covid-19. He was arrested during the lockdown and at that time, all the courts were not sitting until now. Also, the police cannot grant him bail for his own protection.”
Prior to his arrest, Bala had posted on his Facebook wall, “Fact is, you have no life after this one. You have been dead before, long before you were born, billions of years on death.”
A search through Bala’s Facebook page also shows him mocking Christian clerics, including the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, TB Joshua.
Rights group, Humanists International, condemned the prolonged detention of Bala.
A statement read in part, “His prolonged detention without charge violates Bala’s rights to liberty, fair trial, freedom of thought and expression, and freedom of movement as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and international human rights law.”
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