NEWS: Nigeria
A Nigerian atheist named Mubarak Bala jailed to 24 years for blaspheming Islam.

A Niger­ian athe­ist has been con­demned to 24 years in jail by a high court in the north­ern state of Kano after being con­demned of blas­phem­ing Islam.

Mubarak Bala, the 37- year-old chair­man of the Human­ist Asso­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria, con­tend­ed guilty to all 18 charges and asked for clemency.

He has been in deten­tion since 2020.

A group of Mus­lims had filed a peti­tion to the author­i­ties charg­ing Bala of post­ing degrad­ing mes­sages about Islam on social media.
Kano has a major­i­ty Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. It’s one of around a dozen states in north­ern Nige­ria where Islam­ic law is rehearsed along­side sec­u­lar laws.

Bala could have faced the death penal­ty if he was tried in an Islam­ic court.
UN human rights experts and inter­na­tion­al rights groups had con­demned his deten­tion and called for his release.

Bala renounced his Islam­ic faith in 2014. He was also report­ed­ly tak­en to a psy­chi­atric clin­ic before being dis­charged.
He was arrest­ed in 2020 in neigh­bour­ing Kaduna state, and trans­ferred to Kano, his home state.

Numer­ous Nige­ri­ans in the sub­stan­tial­ly Mus­lim north and the most­ly Chris­t­ian south are deeply religious.

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