The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has called on the Nigerian Government and Kano State Government to effect the immediate release of Mubarak Bala, an atheist currently imprisoned for insulting Prophet Muhammed and Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua in a Facebook post.
The call was made jointly by eleven United Nations experts, including six special rapporteurs led by Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
Bala, a former Islamist turned atheist, has been in detention for the last 90 days, after being accused of blasphemy, which carries the death sentence.
In April 2020, he posted on Facebook in Hausa: “There is no difference between Prophet T.B Joshua of Lagos and Prophet Muhammad of Saudi Arabia; our own from Nigeria is even better in that he was not a terrorist.”
This post led to the arrest and detention of Mubarak Bala by Kano State Government through the Commissioner of Police.
Bala was also arrested in 2014 when he was forcefully detained by family members in a psychiatric ward because he became an outspoken atheist.
Gary McLelland, CEO of Humanists International said “News of Mubarak’s arrest is of serious concern to the international humanist community. Mubarak is a well-known and hugely respected activist. We are working with our Members, Associates and Supporters to coordinate a global response to have Mubarak freed.”
Leo Igwe, founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria also said “All of us at the Humanist Association of Nigeria are deeply worried by the arrest and detention of our president, Mubarak Bala.”