University of Essex Graduate Overturns Death Sentence, Receives International Religious Award

COLCHESTER, England – Kola Alapinni, a University of Essex graduate, has been recognized by the US State Department for his efforts in overturning a singer’s death sentence in Nigeria.

Alapinni, a human rights lawyer, provided pro bono legal defense in blasphemy cases in Kano, Nigeria, defying the threat of mob violence. His work helped Yahaya Sharif-Aminu avoid the death penalty in 2020, and he continues to fight for his complete freedom.

Studying LLM International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex in 2006, Alapinni also managed to overturn a lengthy prison sentence for a 13-year-old boy. He describes receiving the award as a validation of his relentless fight over the past four years.

Alapinni’s pro bono work aims to provide legal aid to the poorest people in Kano, ensuring they have access to representation in cases involving the Sharia penal code. He emphasized the constant fear of reprisal attacks from mobs, emphasizing the critical time Nigeria is going through and the need to guarantee religious freedom as outlined in the constitution.

His work has ignited discussions about the state of the judicial system in Nigeria and the challenges faced by lawyers representing defendants in such cases. He stresses the importance of restoring the rule of law and order in the country during these critical times.

Overall, Alapinni’s work serves as a beacon of hope for those in Nigeria facing legal challenges under the Sharia penal code, and his recognition by the US State Department sheds light on the importance of upholding human rights in the face of adversity.