UN experts call for release of Nigerian atheist


A panel of UN experts has called on Nigerian authorities to release a prominent humanist who was arrested and detained a year ago today.

Mubarak Bala was taken into custody after a complaint was filed at a police station in the northern state of Kano, alleging that he had insulted Prophet Mohammed in a Facebook post.

“The arrest and prolonged detention of Mr Bala is not only a flagrant violation of fundamental rights, but it has also had a chilling effect on the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Nigeria,” the UN experts said in a statement.

They said that they were disappointed that the authorities had not obeyed the 21 December order by the Federal High Court to release of Mr Bala.

The court also ordered that he be given bail and paid damages of 250,000 naira ( $650, £460) because his rights had been infringed.

A hearing was scheduled for 20 April, but it didn’t take place because judiciary workers were on strike.

The UN experts called on the government to ensure that judicial rulings are respected.