Mubarak Bala, president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested in 2020 in connection with a series of Facebook posts that some deemed "blasphemous".
Yesterday the Kano State High Court convicted Bala of 18 counts of causing a public disturbance.
Bala was arrested after a petition from a group of lawyers, sent to local police, said he had called the Islamic prophet Muhammad "all sorts of denigrating names".
Mubarak pled guilty to the charges in court, which was not part of the agreed legal strategy. Humanists International said it is likely he was subjected to intimidation, and there have been unconfirmed reports of threats against his family members.
He was held without charge for 462 days and was denied access to a legal team for over five months. He has also been denied access to medical care. In December 2020 a judge at the High Court in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, ruled that Bala should be immediately released, but Kano State authorities failed to comply.
His court hearing had been subject to repeated adjournments.
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