NIGERIA: Mubarak Bala must be released, Abuja High Court says
On 21 December 2020, a judge at the High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, ruled that Mubarak Bala should be immediately released from detention in Kano State, where he has been held since April 2020.
Humanists Int’l (21.12.2020) – https://bit.ly/3rqrfFY – The ruling in which the judge declared Bala’s continuous incarceration as illegal and ordered his immediate release follows a ‘fundamental rights’ petition detailing how Bala has been detained without charge for more than seven months, for five months of which, he was denied access to his legal representatives. The Court also awarded 250,000 Naira (around $500USD) against the Respondents.
Humanists International is supporting Bala’s legal team in Nigeria, and is in touch with them to understand the impact of this ruling, and what effect it will have in practice.
Nonetheless the organization reaffirms its call that Bala should be released immediately and without delay to a safe location.
Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, said: “Today’s ruling by the High Court in Abuja is a victory for the human rights of all citizens in Nigeria. It is time our colleague Mubarak Bala was released immediately and unconditionally and we call upon leaders in Nigeria to respect due process and the rule of law.”
Leo Igwe, who has been coordinating much of the campaign to free Mubarak in Nigeria, said: “This is welcome news, and we are cautiously optimistic about what it means. It is now imperative that the legal authorities in Nigeria comply with this ruling.”
President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, was arrested on 28 April in connection with a Facebook post. He has subsequently been detained without charge for more than seven months. Bala’s lawyers, who only gained access to their client in October, filed a fundamental rights petition before the Abuja High Court challenging the legality of Bala’s ongoing detention and arrest. Humanists International believes that Mubarak Bala is being targeted for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief.