Court orders release of detained Facebook user accused of blasphemy

294, Mbarak Bala

The Federal High Court has told the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), to release a detained Facebook user, Mbarak Bala.

Bala was arrested in Kaduna on February 28, 2020 over alleged blasphemous posts about Islam.

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the court said the arrest and detention of Bala was ultra vires and an infringement of his fundamental human rights.

Ekwo said it was outrageous that detainee could suffer such experience “because he expressed his option about religion on Facebook, constitutes an infraction of the applicant’s rights to personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thought, freedom of express and freedom of movement.”

Consequently, the judge directed the respondents to release the applicant from detention to his lawyer on bail forthwith and went on to award him N250,000 damages.

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