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Blasphemy: Absence of appellant stalls hearing on death sentence

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The hearing of an appeal filed against the death sentence given to a popular artist in Kano Yahaya Sharif-Aminu failed to continue at the Kano State High Court on Monday following the absence of the appellant.

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An Upper Shari’a court on 10th August, 2020 led by Khadi Aliyu Mohammad Kani convicted Yahaya on one count charge of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammad through discreting wordings in his art work

The artist was sentenced to death by hanging.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Nuradeen Sagir, the appellant, a representative stood in for the appellant.

Zubairu Suleiman Usman explained that the lead counsel in the matter could not be in court because he was served on short notice.

Zubairu, however, sought for adjournment to a later date to enable the appellant, who was also hindered by the civil unrest in Lagos, properly prepare for the matter.

The second respondent, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Musa Abdullahi Lawan did not opposed the request of the appellant.

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The AG, who also stand for the first respondent, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, however, pledged to file an application before the court to enable it serve the appellant through substituted means (courrier) in good time to enable them go through the processes and respond before the next hearing.

The presiding judge who is also the Chief Judge of Kano state, Justice Nuraddeen Sagir granted the request, and adjourned the case to 26th November, 2020.

In a notice of appeal filed by Barrister Kola Alanipini of Highbridge Chambers dated 3rd September, 2020, the appellant is challenging Kano State governor, and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice (first and second respondents respectively) on Sheriff’s death sentence.

The appeal is filed on the ground that the conviction and sentence of Sheriff, which was in pursuant to Kano State Penal code law 2000, was against the fundamental human rights of the convict as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The appellant is, however, seeking the relief of the court to set aside the trial, conviction and sentencing handed down by the upper Shari’a court.

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