Blasphemy rulings overturned, retrial ordered
A 13-YEAR-OLD boy, Umar Farouk, who in August was sentenced by a Shari’a court in Kano state, northern Nigeria, to ten years in prison for blasphemy has had his sentence overturned by the High Court, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. He had been found guilty of using foul language against God during an argument with a friend, but the sentence was overturned on Thursday of last week because he was a minor. The same judge ordered a retrial for Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, 22, who had been sentenced to death by hanging for blaspheming in a song that he had shared on WhatsApp late last February. Both sentences had been condemned widely, by the United Nations and others. The president of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, called for the complete dismissal of all charges against Mr Sharif.
Priest murdered in the Philippines
A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest in the Philippines, Fr Rene Bayang Regalado, was shot dead on Sunday by a group of gunmen in the town of Malaybalay on the island of Mindanao, Vatican News reports. He was found that night on a road near the Malaybalay Carmel Monastery; he is believed to have been returning to the St John XXIII College Seminary, where he was staying. CBCP News, the news site of the RC Bishops in the Philippines, reports that Fr Regalado, who was 42, is the fourth priest to have been murdered in the country since 2017.
UN plea for safer routes repeated after shipwreck
THE United Nations migration and refugee agencies (IOM and UNHCR) have urged countries to re-activate search and rescue operations, after the deaths of 43 people shipwrecked off the coast of Libya on Tuesday of last week. There were ten survivors. The vessel reportedly capsized owing to bad sea conditions when its engine stopped a few hours after embarking from the Libyan city of Zawra. In a statement last week, the IOM and UNHCR reiterated calls on the international community for an “urgent and measurable shift” in the approach to the situation in the Mediterranean, including ending returns to unsafe ports, establishing a safe and predictable disembarkation mechanism, and a “show of solidarity” from European states with countries receiving high numbers of arrivals.