Mubarak Bala

2020 Scottish humanist of the year jailed for blasphemy

April 5, 2022

Humanist Society Scotland and humanists across the globe have reacted with dismay after Mubarak Bala was sentenced to 24 years in prison in relation to social media posts that were deemed to be “blasphemous”.

Dr Leo Igwe, Board member of Humanists International from Nigeria, commented:

The Humanist community in Nigeria is utterly shocked by the sentencing of Mubarak Bala for ‘blasphemy’. It is utterly disgraceful that a court in this 21st century could convict an individual for making innocuous posts on Facebook.

Today is a sad day for humanism, human rights and freedom in Nigeria. The sentencing of Mubarak Bala is a stark violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief. We urge the authorities in Nigeria to ensure that this judicial charade does not stand.

Dr Leo Igwe, Humanists International

Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, said,

We are devastated to hear our friend faces such a drastic and incomprehensible sentence. Mubarak has been imprisoned for having non-religious beliefs and saying so openly. This is an oppressive restriction of the right to free expression and freedom of thought, religion and belief. This sentence must be struck out with utmost urgency.

Fraser Sutherland, Humanist Society Scotland

Bala’s case has been subject to a series of procedural irregularities that have hindered his right to a fair trial. They include:

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