A court in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano has sentenced a musician to death by hanging for blaspheming against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The upper Sharia court in the declared this Monday that the singer, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, 22, was guilty of committing blasphemy for a song he circulated via WhatsApp five months ago.
Mr Sharif-Aminu did not deny the charges. Judge Khadi Aliyu Muhammad Kani said he could appeal against the verdict. The singer who is currently in detention had gone into hiding after he composed the song. Protestors had burnt down his family home and gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding action against him.
According to the report by BBC, Death sentences are rare in northern Nigeria, where Sharia law is implemented alongside secular law in most states.
Critics said the song was blasphemous as it praised an imam to the extent it elevated him above the Prophet Muhammad.
The leader of the protesters that called for the musician’s arrest in March, Idris Ibrahim, told the BBC that the judgement will serve as a warning to others “contemplating toeing Yahaya’s path”.”
The last time a Nigerian Sharia court passed a death sentence was in 2016 when Abdulazeez Inyass was sentenced to death for blaspheming against Islam during after a secret trial in Kano. The sentence has however not been carried out as a death sentence in Nigeria requires the sign-off of the state governor.