Mubarak Bala: Appeal Court Reduces Atheist’s Blasphemy Sentence to 5 Years

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Nigerian Court of Appeal In Kano Reduces Mubarak Bala’s 24-Year Blasphemy Sentence To Five Years

In a significant development, the Nigerian Court of Appeal in Kano has reduced the 24-year blasphemy sentence of Mubarak Bala, an atheist and President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, to five years. Bala was initially sentenced in April 2022 by a Kano State High Court for allegedly committing blasphemy against Allah and Prophet Muhammad.

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Bala’s arrest in 2020 sparked widespread attention, and his subsequent sentencing drew international condemnation. His legal team, led by James Ibor, appealed the sentence, arguing that it was excessive and violated the law.

Mubarak Bala, Nigerian Humanist Association
Mubarak Bala

On Monday, the Court of Appeal reduced Bala’s sentence to five years, citing that the initial sentence was “against the law.

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While Bala’s legal team welcomes the reduction, they are eager to review the full judgment, expected to be published later this week. The team also seeks clarification on the court’s position regarding Bala’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the court, despite his guilty plea.

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Humanists International, a global organization advocating for human rights, has been closely following Bala’s case. They believe Bala has been targeted for his peaceful exercise of freedom of religion and expression and urged the Appeal Court to quash his conviction and facilitate his immediate release.

The reduced sentence is seen as a positive development, but concerns remain about the broader implications for freedom of expression and religious beliefs in Nigeria. As the case continues to unfold, many will be watching closely to see how the legal system addresses these critical issues.

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