Young man at risk of execution in Nigeria for alleged blasphemy
Yahaya Sharif-Aminu (pictured), 22, a singer, is in prison in Kano, Nigeria and is at risk of execution for alleged blasphemy. This is an urgent action asking you to write to the authorities for his release.
The death sentence handed down to Yahaya Sharif-Aminu by the Upper Sharia Court in Kano state, Nigeria was widely criticized across Nigeria and also by Amnesty International after a huge outcry by several individuals and religious bodies urging the Governor of Kano state not to sign his execution warrant.
There were serious concerns about the fairness of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu’s trial and the framing of the charges against him. Before and during the trial, he was not permitted legal representation. He was granted access to legal advice to prepare an appeal after human rights lawyers and activists pressured the court to respect his right to legal representation.
In Kano state under the Sharia law, blasphemy is a criminal offence with a death penalty. The death penalty remains a legal sanction in Nigeria and continues to be imposed throughout the country. In 2019, over 54 death sentences were recorded. In total, over 2,700 people were under death sentence by the end of the year. In Nigeria, the 2004 National Study Group on Death Penalty and the 2007 Presidential Commission on the Administration of Justice both stressed that the Nigerian criminal justice system cannot guarantee a fair trial and called for a moratorium on the death penalty.
Sentence of death for singing a song
In 2008, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) adopted its second
resolution on the death penalty, calling on States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights –
such as Nigeria – to “observe a moratorium on the execution of death sentences with a view to abolishing the
death penalty” and to ratify the ICCPR-OP2. In a study published on 19 April 2012, the Working Group on the
Death Penalty of the African Commission reaffirmed the necessity of the abolition of capital punishment and
suggested ways for its achievement.
We would be grateful if you can find time to write. There is an email address as well.