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Save Kano Nine from Nigerian Sharia Courts Death Sentence for Blasphemy!

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Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

Posted: Sun, 02 Aug 2015 07:00

The National Secular Society has joined other secularist organisations in calling for a full pardon and civil protection for nine people recently sentenced to death by a Sharia court in Nigeria.

The letter, organised by the Secular Policy Institute, expresses deep concerns over the death sentences handed out for blasphemy and appeals to the Nigerian President, Governor, and Ambassador to ensure the preservation of the individuals’ rights of free conscience and religious expression.

The so-called ‘Kano Nine’ were sentenced to death by a sharia court in the Nigerian state of Kano after what the BBC described as a “speedily done” and “secret” trial.

The charges centred around claims that the nine accused said that Niasse, the founder of the Tijaniya sect, was “bigger than [the] Prophet Muhammad”.

The nine are alleged to have made the comment at a religious gathering held to honour Niasse, in a venue which was burnt down by a mob before the nine (eight men and one woman) were arrested by police over the accusations.

The head of the religious police in Kano told the BBC: “We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands.”

There were reports of celebrations across parts of the city when the death sentences were announced.

The Secular Policy Institute note that “comments by local-authorities expressing relief at stemming further vigilante acts” give the impression that the verdicts were the result of “political expedience rather than a fair administration of justice.”

The ‘Kano Nine’ are “being sacrificed to pacify a mob”, the signatories write.

There was extreme secrecy around the trial, and even the names of all of the accused are not known.

Nigeria operates two countervailing jurisprudences – Customary and Sharia. The Customary Criminal code would call for a maximum two-year sentence for purported violation, with the Sharia code specifying a death sentence.

The letter argues that at the very least the State should uphold civil over religious law.

The BBC gives some background:

Nigeria court in Kano sentences nine people to death for blasphemy

An Islamic court has sentenced nine people to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

The accused, who were all Muslims, had pleaded guilty, the head of Kano’s religious police, Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, told the BBC.

The trial was speedily done in secret after a section of the court was burnt down by angry protesters last month.

It is not known if they will appeal against the sentence.

The alleged offence was committed last month at a religious gathering in honour of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa.

The nine, eight man and a woman, were reported to have said that “Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”, triggering unrest.

The venue was burnt to the ground by an angry mob and the nine were arrested,

“There has been consensus among Muslims scholars that insulting the prophet carries a death sentence,” Mr Daurawa told the BBC Hausa service.

“We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands,” he added.

Reactions:

SaveKanoNine: Story Behind The 9 People Sentenced To Death Over Blasphemy In Kano

The case of a recent judgment by an Upper Sharia Court, Rijiyar Lemo, in Kano state, which passed death sentences on nine persons for blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed has caused uproar among Nigerians.

On Thursday, 26th June 2015, a group of Tijjaniyya sect members, during Maulud in Kano, blasphemed the prophet of Islam and the action was followed by widespread protest in the state. It was reported that this barbaric judgement created wild jubilation in certain quarters in Kano, this was further worsened when the Kano Government’s expressed satisfaction at the given verdict. A press release by the government stated that this judgement will serve as a deterrent to others.

After series of hearing, the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal, in a statement, said the nine were found guilty under Sections 110 and 382B of the Sharia Penal Court law of 2000.

Four other persons namely Alkassim Abubakar, Yahaya Abubakar, Isa Abubakar and Abdullahi Abubakar were discharged and acquitted as they were not found wanting by the court. However, Abdul-Inyas and Hajiya Mairo, with seven others to death, will be executed over a case of Blasphemy once the Kano State Governor appends his signature on their execution form.

Reacting to the judgement, Nigerians on Wednesday took to Twitter to appeal for the sentence to be overturned.

Using #SaveKanoNine hashtag, many have called on the intervention of President Buhari and higher-placed individuals and bodies such as Amnesty International to interfere.

7 Responses

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  1. […] Source: Save Kano Nine from Nigerian Sharia Courts Death Sentence for Blasphemy! […]

  2. Off topic FYI. Is this true?

    “Those within the Western left who accept as legitimate Putin’s claim that Russia supports the struggle of the peoples of the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine against the “fascist junta Kiev” (actually a conservative nationalist government) are, in fact, providing cover for the ongoing offensive of Russian imperialism on its western margins. This is all the more serious as they often adopt as well the bellicose and racist phraseology of Moscow. Consider the bravura of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the Left Party in France, who argued that the Russian Army is “the people in arms” and will not be intimidated by the bands of poor Chicano devils from the U.S. Army, and who “recommends that Putin keep” cool in dealing with “the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, the disintegration of this country” that finds it so hard to be unified.12

    What a marvelous expression of solidarity of the “great French nation” with the “great Russian nation” against the “little Ukrainian nation,” tinged with contempt toward the Mexicans of the United States who are oppressed by another imperialism which uses them as cannon fodder. Isn’t it high time for the international left to break definitively with such a geopolitical and chauvinistic view of the world, often tinged with racism, that praises any form of opposition to the interests of American imperialism by any tyrant who comes along? Shouldn’t the struggles and aspirations of the exploited classes and oppressed peoples of the world for their own emancipation, in the East as in the West, in the South and in the North, be supported unconditionally?”
    http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2015/08/02/imperialisms-putin-the-war-in-ukraine-%E2%80%A8and-the-far-right/

  3. Paul, ‘anti-imperialism’ is just imperialism with a Russian or Islamic flag.

    Not content with being apologists for the totalitarian, far left, brutal Soviet Union, a section of the left has transferred that to supporting the authoritarian, far right and brutal Russia of today – these are of course the same people who like to characterise Cameron as a ‘fascist’.

    It is this perverse and hypocritical support for brutal social reactionaries – while proclaiming themsleves anti-fascist and as shining fighters for ‘human rights’ – that has made me give up on the western left. The same people have shown almost total indifference to the Kurds – socialist or otherwise – and have even engaged in apologetics for the evil theocrats of ISIS.

    I don’t count you or Andrew or some others here among these horrible people, but as far as I’m concerned you are welcome to these people. The left, including the mainstream left, just can’t ever seem to get them out of its system. It is Orwellian to describe them as ‘progressive’, and if Corbyn gets elected Labour leader, you will have such a person running the show. Good luck with that.

    Lamia

    August 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

  4. Yes its true,

    “Il est important de se souvenir que la Russie est une très grande puissance militaire, dont le peuple en arme, que n’intimideront pas les bandes de pauvres diables chicanos de l’armée des USA. ”

    and so on.

    That is close to racist about ‘chicanos’.

    Mélenchon is completely off the wall on this.

    As you say Lamina, it’s not an isolated case.

    http://www.jean-luc-melenchon.fr/2015/03/04/avant-lorage/#more-21790

    Andrew Coates

    August 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

  5. Anti-Americanism has always had a racial element. As a tendency of ‘thought’ it sprang from French and subsequently German right wingers who argued that Americans had bad breeding, bad soil, interbred with ‘savage’ natives and slaves, etcetera). Race is always there in some form, often with slighting references to blacks or Jews and the inferior (indeed questioned to exist at all) US Culture generally. Left anti-Americanism is usually more guarded about this than right anti-Americanism, but the mask slips often enough.

    Curious also, the peculiar way that a perceived feature that is condemned in the US is cited as admirable and indeed a justification in another:

    “Il est important de se souvenir que la Russie est une très grande puissance militaire, dont le peuple en arme, que n’intimideront pas les bandes de pauvres diables chicanos de l’armée des USA.”

    i.e. the US army is a weak military power, and therefore deserving of contempt (despite the US also being the global bully, of course; logic is never the strong point of ‘anti-imperialists’), while Russia is a great military power and thus deserving of respect.

    This is typical of totalitarian doublethink: the simultaneous conviction that one is a peaceful victim of injustice by bullies… and a heroic, all-conquering emperor. It was central to Nazism, not quite so important in Communism, though it was there sometimes, and it can be found today among Islamists and Russian nationalists. Hence we have the picture of poor ‘encircled’ Russia being bullied by, er, all the tiny neighbouring nations it has invaded or annexed over the past few centuries (including a number since WW2).

    Lamia

    August 3, 2015 at 6:42 pm

  6. Unfortunately, if its web presence is anything to go by, this very necessary organisation is not in a very healthy state at the moment.

    http://www.nigerianhumanists.com/

    Francis

    August 4, 2015 at 1:36 am

  7. Thanks for feedback Andrew. As I noted, this Putin support lines up Mélenchon with members of Sarkozy’s team, as well as the National Front of course.

    Here is my dissection of Corbyn on Ukraine and Russia http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/corbyn-and-ukraine-its-not-pretty.html, which has now gone viral though what effect it will actually have I am afraid I am pessimistic.


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