NIGERIA: Court sentences an atheist to 24 years prison in a blasphemy case
By Dennis Erezi
The Guardian (05.04.2022) – https://bit.ly/3r8ihi9 – Kano State high court has sentenced a Nigerian atheist Mubarak Bala to 24 years in prison after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam.
Bala was arrested in 2020 in Kaduna state, and transferred to Kano, his home state. He has been in detention since then.
On April 27 2020, Bala compared popular Lagos pastor and president of Synagogue Church of Nations Prophet TB Joshua to Prophet Mohammed.
“There’s no difference between prophet TB Joshua (S.A.W) of Lagos and Muhammadu (A.S.) of Saudi Arabia, it is better for our Nigeria to be terrorism,” Bala said wrote on his Facebook page.
In another post, Bala said, “Whoever believes religion has been duped – If you cant take blasphemy against Islam, criticizism of its doctrines, this page is not for you. I have not even started ooo.”
“Religion insults human reason and conscience, duped me that I have another lifetime,” Mubarak said in his Facebook bio.
His posts were greeted with threats of arrest for blasphemy in the comment section. Unbothered about his stance against Islam, Bala said the threat was from ‘morons’ who should know better.
Days later, a group of lawyers petitioned the Kano State Police command to prosecute Bala for insulting Prophet Muhammad.
Bala renounced his Islamic faith in 2014.
The 37-year-old president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria pleaded guilty to all 18 charges and asked for leniency.
While pleading with the court on Tuesday to tender justice with mercy, Bala promised not to repeat the said blasphemous post, saying he did not know it would elicit the sort of reactions it got when he shared them.
The judge, Justice Farouk Lawan, and the convict’s lawyer, James Ibori, had tried to convince him against his guilty plea but the convict insisted he knew what he was doing and maintained his plea.
Bala’s lawyer told the court that his client had a mental problem, for which he was treated at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano.
Photo: Nigerian atheist, Mubarak Bala