A Kano State Upper Sharia Court on Thursday sentenced an Islamic cleric, Abduljabbar Kabara, to death by hanging after he was found guilty of the 4-count charge of blasphemy filed by the Kano State government.
Mr Kabara, who is the son of the late Nasiru Kabara, a leader of the Qadariyya Islamic Movement in West Africa, was arrested at his home in Kano and arraigned on 16 July 2021, before an Upper Sharia Court at ‘Kofar Kudu’, Emir’s palace.
He was charged by the Kano State government with blasphemy, incitement, and sundry offences.
The government claimed that the cleric was famous for controversial religious commentaries and statements, which were regarded as embarrassing to the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
On Thursday, the judge, Ibrahim Sarki-Yola, reviewed the court proceedings from last year, for about four hours. The proceedings reviewed include the hearing of witnesses and objections of the accused person. The court said it is satisfied that the accused is medically okay following a psychiatric certification.
The judge said Mr Kabara sacked his lawyers on the accusations that they were working against him. And at a point, he opted to defend himself without a lawyer, to which the court disagreed and provided a lawyer for him because of the gravity of the allegations against him.
The judge said he is satisfied that the state has proven the four-count charge filed against the cleric. The judge also dismissed the cleric’s arguments as a mere ‘academic exercise’.
The witnesses who testified against the cleric narrated how Mr Kabara on 10 August 2019 made allegedly blasphemous comments against the Holy Prophet Muhammad at two different religious gatherings in his mosque within Kano’s metropolis.
But the accused objected and dismissed the witnesses saying that their testimonies against him were based on differences in the understanding of the Islamic religion.
However, the judge said the court accepted the statements of the witnesses. The judge also relied on an audio recording, admitted to by the accused, where Mr Kabara was making the alleged blasphemous comments.
“The court admitted that the comments were made at a gathering at the cleric’s mosque at ‘Gwale Filin Mushe’ while addressing his followers who hailed him as he made the comments.
“The court after citing several references agreed that those comments by the cleric were admitted by the court as blasphemous comments against the Holy Prophet Muhammad.