Humanists UK condemns detention of Nigerian colleague, calls for release

by Muizat Hameed

A group of humanists in the United Kingdom has called for the release of their colleague who heads the Humanist Association of Nigeria.

The humanist, Mubarak Bala, was said to have been detained on account of his activism in Kaduna.

“The arrest comes following a pattern of online and physical harassment, culminating in a legal petition to the police accusing him of being ‘provocative and annoying to Muslims’ on Facebook” the group said in a statement.

Humanists UK, alongside Humanists International, expressed their fears that their colleague may be handed over to the authorities in neighbouring Kano State, where, if charged with blasphemy, could be sentenced and given a death penalty under the state’s Islamic laws.

Humanists UK also said it had written to the UK Foreign Office and the relevant United Nations special rapporteurs to raise Mr Bala’s case and pressurize the Nigerian authorities to request his safe release.

The group has also hired a legal representation in Lagos.

In 2014 it was reported that Mr Bala was being treated at a mental institution in Kano state because he proclaimed his disbelief in God.

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