Musician convicted for blasphemy in Kano appeals conviction

Yahaya Shariff-Aminu, a musician in Kano state who was sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy against prophet Mohammed
Tochi Juliet

A Kano State musician, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, has filed a notice of appeal before Kano State High Court.

The 22year old musician in the notice of appeal filed described Sharia law as practised in the state as unconstitutional and undemocratic.

In the notice of appeal marked CR/43/2020, and filed by his lawyer, Kola Alapinni, the convict, sued the Attorney-General of the state and the governor.

He based his appeal on the grounds that the Sharia law, which formed the basis of his conviction, was illegal and unconstitutional.

The notice of appeal read in part, “The appellant’s trial, conviction and sentencing by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano State pursuant to the Kano State Penal Code Law, 2000, were unconstitutional, null, void having grossly violated and conflicted with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended and having violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, respectively.”

He added, “The Penal Sharia Code Law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries, whose constitution allows for such, whereas Nigeria is a secular state with constitutional democracy and the constitution being the supreme law.”

The convict said the state was quick to charge and convict him but denied him legal representation even though there was an existing framework for legal aid in Kano State.

The musician noted that the trial was a secret one and was a breach of his right to a fair hearing.

He said the entity called Kano State was a creation of the constitution and thus could not operate outside it.

The musician, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the trial, conviction and sentencing handed down by the Sharia Court and enter a judgment in his favour.

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu is a musician in Kano state and a resident of Sharifai in Kano metropolis, who was accused of committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed in a song he circulated via WhatsApp in March 2020.

Irate youths burnt down his family home and led a protest to the Sharia Police, Hisbah, demanding Sharif Aminu’s death.

Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death on August 10, 2020, was given 30 days by the court to appeal the judgment, meaning that the time would lapse on Wednesday, September 9.

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