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European Parliament Weigh In On Yahaya Sharif Aminu Impending Death Penalty for Blasphemy in Nigeria

The European Parliament on of 20 April 2023 weighed in on the risk of the death penalty and
the execution of singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu for blasphemy in Nigeria and made the following resolutions:

The European Parliament,
– having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 10 August 2020, Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu was brought before
an upper Sharia court in Kano State, where he was tried without legal representation and
sentenced to death by hanging for alleged blasphemy in a song he composed and shared
on social media containing allegedly derogatory comments regarding the Prophet

B. whereas on 21 January 2021, Kano State High Court ordered a retrial on the grounds of
procedural irregularities and on 17 August 2022 the Court of Appeal upheld the
constitutionality of the blasphemy provisions in the Sharia Penal Code and affirmed the
retrial order;

C. whereas in November 2022, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu filed an appeal with the Supreme
Court against his conviction, arguing that the blasphemy law under Kano State’s Sharia
Penal Code directly violates Nigeria’s Constitution and binding international human
rights treaties; whereas he remains in prison;

D. whereas many other people have been harmed by Nigeria’s blasphemy laws; whereas
student Deborah Yakubu was stoned and beaten to death in 2022; whereas Rhoda Jatau was attacked by a mob and is on trial without the right to bail; whereas humanist
Mubarak Bala was sentenced to 24 years in prison;

E. whereas the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which
Nigeria is party, restricts capital punishment to the most serious crimes; whereas despite
this, Sharia, practiced in at least 12 states in northern Nigeria, imposes the death penalty
for blasphemy;

F. whereas blasphemy laws in Nigeria are in violation of its international human rights
commitments, the African Charter and the Nigerian Constitution;


1. Urges the Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, drop all charges against him and guarantee his due process rights; calls for the release of Rhoda Jatau, Mubarak Bala and others who face blasphemy allegations;

2. Recalls that blasphemy laws are in clear breach of international human rights obligations, in particular the ICCPR, and contrary to the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom and freedom of expression;


3. Urges the Nigerian authorities to uphold human rights throughout the country by ensuring that federal, state and Sharia law do not deny Nigerians protection under the national Constitution and international conventions; urges the Nigerian authorities to repeal the blasphemy laws at federal and state level;

4. Recalls that Nigeria has immense influence throughout Africa and the Muslim world and stresses that this case is an unprecedented opportunity to lead the way towards abolishing blasphemy laws;

5. Urges the Nigerian Government to tackle the impunity surrounding blasphemy accusations;

6. Recalls the international efforts to abolish the death penalty and urges Nigeria to immediately withdraw the use of capital punishment for blasphemy and take steps towards full abolition;


7. Calls for the EU and its Member States, as key development partners, to raise individual cases, human rights concerns and blasphemy laws with the Nigerian authorities;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Nigerian authorities and international institutions.



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