Kano singer who was given the death penalty for blasphemy will be tried again – Appeal Court

A musician who was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad was given a new trial by the Court of Appeal in Kano on Wednesday.

Aminu Yahaya-Sharif, a 24-year-old singer from Sharifai in Kano city, was charged with blasphemy against the Islamic prophet in a song that he distributed via WhatsApp in March 2020.

After being found guilty of all charges, he was given the death penalty by the Hausawa Filin Hockey-based Kano Upper Shari’a Court in August 2020.

Judge Aliyu Kani found him guilty based on Section 382(b) of the Kano Penal Code of 2000.

The death sentence was overturned by the Kano State High Court’s appellate division on January 21, 2021, and a new trial by the same shariah court was mandated.

A panel of two justices from the High Court, including the Chief Judge of Kano State, Nuraddeen Umar, and Nasiru Saminu, identified anomalies in the prior trial conducted by the Sharia Court.

However, Mr. Yahaya-Sharif filed an appeal against the High Court’s ruling because he claimed the High Court erred in ordering a new trial. Instead, he asserted that the judge should have exonerated and cleared him.

Musa Lawan, the Kano State attorney general, and Abdullahi Ganduje, the state’s governor, joined him as respondents in the lawsuits.

The Kano High Court’s initial decision, which mandated that the case be retried in a shariah court, was upheld by the Court of Appeal session, which was conducted by Zoom on Wednesday.

Three judges made up the appeals panel. While one judge protested, the other two judges sided with the respondents.

According to reports, the singer is a follower of Senegalese Islamic scholar Ibrahim Nias and a member of the Faidha group and the Tijjaniya sect of Islam.

The musician’s family members were attacked after hearing the song, and the musician himself fled the scene as his family home was set on fire by angry teenagers protesting against him.

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