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Christian politicians back calls for release of man sentenced to hanging under Nigerian blasphemy laws

by Sophie Drew

Christian politicians in the UK are joining calls for the release of a Nigerian man sentenced to hanging for sending a "blasphemous" message.
Yahayu Sharif-Aminu was sentenced to death by hanging in 2020 after sending a voice message of him singing a song deemed insulting to the prophet Muhammad.
At present, he is awaiting his appeal at Nigeria's Supreme Court.
A motion calling for his immediate release has been signed by a number of notable Christian MPs, including the DUP's Jim Shannon, Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and Labour's Rachel Maskell, amongst others.
The Motion also calls attention to Nigeria's egregious blasphemy laws, stating "this House condemns the blasphemy laws in Nigeria that have caused individuals with minority beliefs to receive long prison sentences or extreme mob violence".
Last month, the European Parliament called for Yahayu to be released immediately.
Threats of persecution as a result of "blasphemy" continue to endanger Christians in the African nation.
Last year, student Deborah Samuel was killed after thanking Jesus for helping her pass her exams, in a message to a WhatsApp group. Despite the attack being filmed, no one has been arrested in connection with her death.
"We are thankful to the Members of the UK Parliament who are speaking out on Yahaya's behalf," said Lizzie Francis, Legal Counsel on Global Religious Freedom for ADF International.
"A society is not free until all have the freedom to speak and express themselves without fear of persecution.
"The international community must continue to speak out on behalf of Yahaya and others who are being denied their basic rights."

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