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Nigerian legal organization urges gov’t to squash death sentence of Yahaya Sharif

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan Nigerian legal and advocacy organization has demanded that government reverses the death sentence given to Yahaya Sharif-Aminu.

The young musician was earlier reported to have been charged with a death sentence through hanging by the Sharia court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of Kano state for singing and circulating a song deemed to be blasphemous against Prophet Muhammad.

SERAP however thought the judgment was in bad faith and demanded that the government annuls the decision. “We urge Nigerian authorities to immediately quash the death sentence by hanging for a Kano-based musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, for blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad. This is a travesty of justice and amounts to violation of the right to freedom of expression. The statement said.

According to SERAP, such judgment “amounts to violation of the right to freedom of expression”. They further added “the sentence amounts to criminalization of the poor, as these vaguely worded blasphemy laws are typically used against the poor and those without political influence.

The organization also extended its advocacy to those who were already arrested for the same or similar ‘crimes’ by stating that, the “authorities must quash all sentences for blasphemy and immediately and unconditionally release those imprisoned solely for exercising their constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to freedom of expression.”

Apart from SERAP, few other individual legal practitioners condemned the unfortunate judgment. According to lawyer Tope Akinyode, “Blasphemy laws derogate from citizens’ fundamental human right to freedom of religion guaranteed by S38 of Nigeria’s constitution. He further added that “the sentencing of a Kano musician to death by Sharia court over allegation of blasphemy is preposterous. It’s antithetical to democratic tenets.”

The government is yet to respond to the call by the rights group and other well-meaning Nigerians and natives of other countries who sympathize with the musician who is currently under detention. Kindly follow EYEGAMBIA for more development on this story. We will bring you all the updates.

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