Following the death sentenced placed on a Kano based musician, Sharif-Aminu Yahaya for blasphemy by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano, an appeal has been filed to challenge his conviction.
A Kano based musician, Sharif-Aminu Yahaya sentenced to death for blasphemy by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano has filed an appeal at the state high court to challenge his conviction.
In the suit filed at the Kano state high court on Thursday, Sharif-Aminu, through his counsel, Kola Alapinni, is asking the court to set aside the whole of the judgement of the Upper Sharia Court of Kano.
The Sharia court had sentenced him to death by hanging on August 10, having found him guilty of committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad in a song.
But in the appeal, Alapinni contended that the appellant’s trial, conviction and sentencing by the Upper Sharia Court, pursuant to Kano State Penal Code Law 2000 were unconstitutional, null and void, having grossly violated and conflicted with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Universal Declaration of Human Rights respectively.
He contended that the offence of blasphemy for which Sharif-Aminu was convicted is no longer a cognizable offence in Nigeria by virtue of section 10, standing alone or in conjunction with section 38 and 39 of the constitution respectively.
He maintained that a capital offence seeking to terminate human life must comply strictly especially with the right to life provisions of Constitution of Nigeria.
He averred that the confessional statement and the plea of the applicant in the court below is a nullity and legally irrelevant in the absence of a valid law criminalizing the appellant’s alleged criminal conduct.
He maintained that a Penal Sharia Code law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries whose constitution allows for such laws, whereas Nigeria is a secular state with constitutional democracy and the constitution being the supreme law.
Meanwhile, activist lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has clarified that contrary to media reports, the Upper Sharia Court of Kano has not furnished his law firm with a copy of the judgment delivered in the case of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu on August 10.
He said his representative has been asked by the Registrar of the Court to call again for the judgment.
He said another colleague in the human rights movement, Mr. Kola Alapinni of the Foundation For Religious Freedom filed an appeal at the Kano State High Court on behalf of the convict.
It would be recalled that the death sentence passed on the Kano musician sparked public outcry.
In spite of the outcry, the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria asked Kano state government to execute the court judgment.
Sequel to the confirmation of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, had said he would not waste time to sign Sharif-Aminu’s death sentence if he failed to file an appeal within 30 days.