On April 29, Mubarak Bala, the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, an affiliate of AAI, was taken into the custody of Kano police. Since then, they have denied him the use of a phone, denied his legal counsel access to him and have refused to reveal his whereabouts or the state of his health.
We do not know if any charges have been brought against him, but this action has followed allegations from the public about ‘blasphemous’ posts on social media. Although Nigeria is constitutionally a secular nation, the Northern districts, including Kano state, have been permitted to adopt Sharia Law.
In Nigeria, for non-capital charges, police are legally bound either to bring charges within 48 hours of arrest or to release the detainee. Furthermore, detainees have a legal right to reasonable access to their lawyers. All of these legalities are being ignored.
However, even without access to the detainee, lawyers can apply to a federal court under Fundamental (Human) Rights to seek an order for immediate release and a restraining order from further arrest.
Atheist Alliance International, https://www.atheistalliance.org, has conducted a fundraiser which has achieved over $2,000 and we have added a $1,000 donation from AAI funds. Together with appeals from other atheist, secular and civil rights organizations, this means that there are enough funds to meet immediate legal and other costs.
Humanists International (HI) has engaged the legal team for Mubarak. We are in contact with HI and will make contributions from our legal fund as soon as HI requests it. In the meantime, we are providing cash support for Mubarak’s partner and children. We have also offered the services of the very experienced lawyer who we use for actions in Nigeria.
In accordance with our Values, AAI will keep donors informed of how their donations have been spent. We are extremely grateful to our donors. Thank you so much!