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NIGERIA: HRWF condemns the death penalty of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu on blasphemy charges

HRWF (13.08.2020) – Human Rights Without Frontiers condemns the death sentence by hanging issued by a Nigerian Sharia court in Kano against a 22-year-old singer for allegedly insulting the Prophet in a song that he wrote and circulated on WhatsApp.

 

“Blasphemy laws are inconsistent with freedom of expression, including on religious issues or about religious figues,” HRWF director declared. “They should be repealed and the sentence imposed on the singer should be overturned.”

 

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a Muslim musician, is not well-known in northern Nigeria. His songs were not popular outside his Tijaniya Sufi group of North African origin.

The singer had gone into hiding after he composed the song as protesters had burnt down his family home and gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding action against him.

The leader of the protesters that called for the musician’s arrest in March, Idris Ibrahim, told the BBC that the judgement will serve as a warning to others “contemplating toeing Yahaya’s path”.

Sharif-Aminu can appeal the verdict.

 

Only one of the death sentences passed by Nigeria’s Sharia courts has been carried out since they were reintroduced in 1999.


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