Global rights group, Amnesty International, has condemned the death sentence handed down to a musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, by a Sharia Court in Kano State for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed.
Amnesty also called on the Abdullahi Ganduje-led government to immediately quash the conviction.
The rights group said this on Thursday in a statement titled, ‘Authorities must quash the conviction and death sentence imposed on Kano-based singer’, signed by its spokesman, Isa Sanusi.
The statement read in part, “The authorities of Kano State of Nigeria must immediately quash the conviction and death sentence of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death by hanging on spurious charges of blasphemy by the Kano Upper Shari’a Court.”
The group described the conviction as a travesty of justice, adding that from all indication, the musician did not get a fair hearing.
“This is a travesty of justice. There are serious concerns about the fairness of his trial; and the framing of the charges against him based on his music. Furthermore, the imposition of the death penalty following an unfair trial violates the right to life.
“Yahaya Sharif-Aminu must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International Nigeria country director.
Sharif-Aminu was arrested in March after protesters burnt down his family home and led a procession to the Kano Hisbah command’s headquarters demanding his arrest and prosecution.
Sharia law, which is practiced in many states in northern Nigeria provides for the death penalty for blasphemy.
The rights group, however, said this violates Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which restricts the use of the death penalty to crimes like intentional killing, according to international law.
Amnesty said it would continue to oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.