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Nigerian atheist receives 24 years in prison for insulting Mohammed

He called Mohammad a terrorist on Facebook.

Published: April 7, 2022 9:44pm

Updated: April 7, 2022 10:37pm

An atheist activist in Nigeria was sentenced on Tuesday to 24 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to 18 blasphemy-related charges over online posts in which he criticized Islam.

Mubarak Bala, 37, was detained in April 2020 after he was accused of posting criticisms of Islam and its prophet, Mohammed, on Facebook, Africanews reported.

The posts breached the public peace in northern Nigeria, which is predominantly Muslim and partly under sharia law.

Bala's offending Facebook post called Mohammad a "terrorist."

He asked for "mercy and leniency" after pleading guilty. 

"The intention of the posts was not to cause violence but I have realised they are capable of causing violence. I will take care in the future," he reportedly said.

The judge said that the 24-year-sentence will take into account the time he spent awaiting trial and that Bala may appeal the sentence's length.

Most Muslim-majority nations have blasphemy laws, according to Pew Research Center. Islamic tradition prohibits drawings of Mohammed, major prophets, and Allah, but many countries under Sharia law criminalize criticism of Islam and its figures. 

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