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Nigeria: Authorities must quash 'appalling' flogging sentence of TikTokers

Responding to the sentencing of two TikTok celebrities - Mubarak Muhammad and Nazifi Muhammad - by a court in Kano, northern Nigeria, to flogging and a fine for allegedly defaming a politician, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:  

“Amnesty International condemns the sentencing of two TikTok stars for allegedly defaming the governor of Kano state in northern Nigeria. The decision to remand them in prison for a week without trial is a brazen violation of their right to a fair trial. Satirising those in authority is not a crime. Nigerian authorities must immediately quash this appalling sentence.  

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Mubarak Muhammad and Nazifi Muhammad as they are sentenced solely for peacefully exercising their human rights.

“Nigerian authorities must respect, protect, promote, and fulfil the right of everyone to freedom of expression.  The outrageous court order to flog and fine them is heavy-handed and clearly aimed at gagging young Nigerians and restricting their access to social media.  

“These outrageous sentences are just the latest to be meted out by Nigeria’s cruel justice system and expose the authorities’ complete disregard for freedom of expression.”

Punished for political satire

Mubarak Isa Muhammed and Muhammed Bula were found guilty of defaming Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the northern state of Kano.

They were arrested last week after posting a video in which they mocked the governor for alleged land grabbing, corruption and sleeping on the job.

Nigeria has seen a growing number of social media stars using comedy to comment on social and political issues, but with this has come an increasing threat of reprisals from the authorities including intimidation, attacks and arrests.

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