A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the release of Mubarak Bala, a Facebook user who allegedly used his account to post a message considered to be blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W).
Bala, who is also the President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, was arrested in February at his home by police in Kaduna State following a complaint by some lawyers who accused him of publicly insulting the Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook page.
The police also transferred him to Kano State on May 2, 2020.
While ruling on the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Bala through his lawyer, Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that Bala’s arrest and detention by the police was as an infraction of his rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, expression, and movement.
“The denial of the applicant access to his lawyers constitutes a gross infringement of his right to a legal representative of his choice under section 34 and 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution.”
The judge also ordered the police to pay the sum of N250,000 as general and exemplary damages to the applicant.
Bala has been an outspoken religious critic after he reportedly renounced Islam in 2014.