From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Amnesty International (AI) has written Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, over the death sentence passed on Sharif Aminu Yahaya, Kano-based musician.
Amnesty International, in the letter, called for immediate and unconditional release of Aminu while also demanding that charges against him be dropped.
Aminu was sentenced to death last year by an Upper Sharia Court sitting in Kano, for act of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Mohammed. An Appeal Panel presided by the Chief Judge of Kano State, Justice Nura Sagir,and Justice Nasiru Saminu, subsequently ordered a retrial since he had no legal representative throughout his trial at the Upper Sharia Court.
But Amnesty International, in a letter dated February 2, 2021, addressed to Ganduje by Friedhelm Kuhl of Amnesty International Group 1190, Germany, said Aminu should never have been sentenced to death in the first place.
“No one should be sentenced to death for freely expressing his opinion . The imposition of the death penalty following an unfair trial violates the right to life and hasty trials undermine the ability of defendants to seek effective remedies for the lack of legal representation during trial. Moreover, the use of the death penalty for blasphemy violates Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which restricts the use of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes,” which according to international law are crimes that involve intentional killing.
“I therefore, request that the authorities drop all charges against Yahaya Sharif-Aminu. I urge the authorities to ensure immediate and unconditional release of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu.”
In the letter, Kuhl informed Ganduje that they have written letters on human rights concerns to authorities in Algeria, Togo, Brazil, PR China, Ecuador, Cambodia, Turkey, Bahrain and Morocco.