Femi Falana (SAN) has dragged the Kano State Government and the Federal Government to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia, over the death sentence for blasphemy placed on Kano singer, Sharif Yahya Sharif.
Falana asked the commission to exercise its powers as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and pursuant to the commission’s order 100(1) Rules of Procedure, 2020.
He called on the commission to ensure that every person on capital punishment is granted a free and fair trial.
He sai in a petition: “I am writing to you on behalf of Sharif Yahya Sharif to ask the Commission to consider this request for provisional measures. The request is submitted in conjunction with our communication on behalf of Sharif Yahya Sharif convicted and sentenced to death for blasphemy in Kano State of Nigeria.
“When the petitioner informed the Court that he could not afford and secure the services of a lawyer to defend him, the Court ordered the Legal Aid Council to assign him a lawyer so that the petitioner could enjoy access to legal representation.
“However, the order was disobeyed by the Legal Aid Council. The Legal Aid Council is the body established by law to provide legal support to indigent citizens especially in cases involving death penalty.
“An appeal at the Kano State High Court against the conviction and death sentence imposed on the petitioner has been filed, but we submit that the petitioner will not enjoy a fair hearing, as he continues to face imminent execution by hanging.
“Nigeria is a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights but there is a growing crackdown on human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and attack on the rule of law.”