Nigeria: Rhoda Jatau, a Christian detained for blasphemy, released on bail

Nigeria Rhoda Jatau, Christian woman detained for blasphemy, released on bail

Rhoda Jatau, a Christian woman detained in Nigeria for 18 months for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, was released on bail on Friday, her lawyer Kola Alapini announced to AFP on Sunday.

This mother of five, employed in the medical sector, was arrested in May 2022 in the town of Warji, in the northeast of the country, after publishing a message online deemed blasphemous by Muslim residents, the police said at the time. police.

Several of them set fire to homes and administrative buildings to express their anger, while Ms. Jatau was placed in police custody.

Rhoda Jatau's online message condemned the killing days earlier of Deborah Samuel, a Christian student from the northwestern town of Sokoto, by her Muslim colleagues who accused her of broadcast a blasphemous message to meet the prophet of Islam.

The assassination of Deborah Samuel caused turmoil among Christians in Nigeria and abroad.

“Rhoda Jatau was released under caution by the Bauchi High Court which was trying her for alleged blasphemy,” Kola Alapini told AFP.

"This is a positive development and a step towards his full freedom," said Alapini, who heads the Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. .

Ms Jatau was released on Friday in a discreet court session to avoid misconduct and possible riots, given the public interest her trial has attracted.

His case was raised at the United Nations Human Rights Council in July and at the European Parliament in October.

In Nigeria, blasphemy is punishable by death under Sharia law, which applies in 12 majority-Muslim states alongside common law.

In many cases, the accused are killed by misconduct without going through the legal process.

Tensions are generally high between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, whose population of more than 210 million is roughly split between the two faiths.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock/ Omotayo Kofoworola

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