Wrongfully Imprisoned Atheist Mubarak Bala Finally Appears in Court

On Tuesday, February 1, Mubarak Bala appeared for the first time after his arrest at the High Court of the state of Kano in Nigeria, almost two years after his arrest. Kano is the president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria and was arrested on April 25, 2020.

Humanists International, the global humanist organization, insisted that “all charges laid against Balashould be dropped immediately and unconditionally.” According to the group, Bala denied all of the charges the court had given.

Bala’s legal battle started with a post he made on Facebook on April 25, 2020, where he declared that the Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist.

The Nobel-Prize Laureate from Nigeria, Wole Soyinka, called Bala’s arrest a sign that a “plague of religious extremism has encroached” upon Nigeria.

It took more than five months for Bala to gain access to his lawyer. In August 2021, 15 months after his arrest, Bala was charged with causing a public disturbance under Sections 210 and 114 of the Penal Code of the state of Kano. Bala was not present at the court when his charges were read.

Experts at the United Nations expressed concerns over the “serious lack of due process in Mr. Bala’s case.” “The arrest and detention of Mr. Bala amounts to persecution of non-believers in Nigeria,” the UN experts added.

In March 2021, the first formal hearing was carried out, with Bala still not present. The hearing was adjourned and moved to April 2021, marking Bala’s one year in detention and being subjected to severely impaired judicial proceedings.

The Humanist International has set up a fund-raising campaign to provide financial support to Bala as he continues his legal battle. As of the writing of this article, the campaign has reached more than half of its target amount.

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