Soyinka Seeks Release Of Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala, Sentenced To 24 Years Jail

Soyinka Seeks Release Of Humanist, Mubarak Bala, Sentenced To 24 Years Jail

Says he has not be able to deliver Mubarak Bala’s open letter to President Tinubu 

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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has called for the release of a humanist, Mubarak Bala, who is serving a 24-year prison sentence over charges of blasphemy.

Soyinka described his conviction as “unjust” and urged those sympathetic to Mubarak Bala’s case to intensify their efforts toward securing his release.

Mr Bala, the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was convicted after he reportedly pleaded guilty to an 18-count charge of blasphemy levelled against him by the Kano State Government in 2022.

He was accused of making a blasphemous post on Facebook against Islam and was held for two years without charges following a petition by a group of Muslims in Kano.

He had prior to the ordeal, dumped Islam to become an atheist and was reportedly persecuted for his action.

The atheist had then written an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, seeking his intervention on the matter.

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Subsequently, a forum was organised on August 5 in Ikeja, Lagos to launch Bala’s document titled “A Prison Letter to a President,” where Soyinka pledged to personally deliver a signed copy of the appeal to President Tinubu.

In response to inquiries by Bala’s associates on the outcome, Soyinka in a statement he released on Tuesday, August 15, said that he has been unable to deliver the appeal to the president. He said the matter has been misreported in the media.

The statement read: “Thanks to my pledge to seize the first opportunity to personally deliver a signed copy of the recently launched Appeal by the above Prisoner of Conscience, Mubarak Bala, to the President, I have been bombarded by both local and international Human Rights organisations, with inquiries about the outcome.

“I regret to state that some media have completely misreported this, and I have yet to meet the current tenant of Aso Rock.

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“I must however exploit this opportunity to call on all those who participated in the August 5th launch of the document as well as well-wishers of Mubarak Bala to continue and indeed intensify their efforts, through whatever avenues, to secure the release of this unjustly persecuted youth whose only crime was to insist on his freedom of thought and belief and its expression.

“There should be no let-up until this symbol of our times is restored to full freedom and human dignity.

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