The authorities of Kano State of Nigeria must immediately quash the conviction and death sentence of Yahaya Sharif Aminu, who was sentenced to death by hanging on spurious charges of blasphemy by the Kano Upper Shari’a Court, Amnesty International said today.
Yahaya Sharif Aminu, a 22-year old musician, had been charged with blasphemy against the prophet of Islam through series of audio messages circulated via WhatsApp in March 2020.
This is a travesty of justice. There are serious concerns about the fairness of his trial; and the framing of the charges against him based on his Whatsapp messages. Furthermore the imposition of the death penalty following an unfair trial violates the right to life. Yahaya Sharif-Aminu must be released immediately and unconditionally,Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International Nigeria country director
Yahaya Sharif was arrested in March after protesters burnt down his family home and led a procession to the Kano Hisbah command’s headquarters demanding for his arrest and prosecution.
Sharia law, which is practiced in many states in northern Nigeria provides for the death penalty for blasphemy. However, this violates Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which restricts the use of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes”; which according to international law are crimes that involve intentional killing.