Blasphemy: We are monitoring situation closely, says UK

The United Kingdom has opposed the death sentence passed on a Kano musician, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, by a Shari’a court.

The UK said individuals had the right to freely express opinions and peacefully challenge authorities, noting that this was essential to a free and open society.

The Shari’a court had penultimate Monday imposed the death sentence on Sharif-Aminu, aged 22, for committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed in a song he circulated via WhatsApp.

The decision had sparked nationwide outrage, with different civil society groups condemning the court’s decision.

The Shari’a Council, however, urged Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State to sign the death warrant.

But commenting on the sentence in response to an inquiry from our correspondent on Wednesday, the British High Commission in Nigeria said it would continue to monitor the situation.

In an emailed response by the Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Christopher Ogunmodede, the Mission said the UK Government opposes death penalty in all circumstances.

It read, “The United Kingdom is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world, and to being a strong voice internationally in defence of this fundamental right.

 “We believe that the rights of individuals to express opinions and peacefully challenge authorities are essential to a free and open society. We will continue to monitor the situation closely. It is a longstanding policy of the UK Government to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.”

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