Mubarak’s Story

Mubarak Bala is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria. He was arrested at his home in Kaduna on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 after a Kano lawyer made a complaint about a Facebook post that appeared two days earlier on Mubarak’s account.

Mubarak was taken to Kano the following day and held incommunicado for months. The police authorities refused to admit he was in their custody and refused to confirm he was alive. Mabarak was not permitted to see his lawyers until November that year—four months after a court ordered that his lawyers be granted access.

On May 8, 2020, Mubarak’s lawyers filed a Fundamental Rights Enforcement (FRE) petition. Such petitions have a special standing in Nigerian law, especially when the petitioner is deprived of his liberty. Such cases must be treated as emergency cases and must be heard within seven days.

To the shame and discredit of the Nigerian judicial system, a long series of prevarications and delays followed and Mubarak’s FRE petition was not heard until October 19. Then the decision was delayed until December 21. But, when it came the decision was the right one. The court found that Mubarak was being detained in gross violation of his fundamental rights. The court ordered that Mubarak be released immediately and ordered the payment of compensation.

At the time of writing, Mubarak remains incarcerated and he has not been brought to trial. The Kano authorities are responsible for a long list of egregious abuses of human rights and legal process, including contempt of court.

Below you will find all our coverage of Mubarak’s case.