Nigeria sentenced 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy, causing outrage

Omar Farooq was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State, northwestern Nigeria because he was accused of using dishonesty towards Allah in an argument with a friend.

He was sentenced on August 10 by the same court that Yahya Sharif-Aminu, a studio assistant recently, sentenced to death for condemning Prophet Mohammed, according to lawyers.

Farooq’s sentence is in violation of the African Charter of Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian Constitution, said his lawyer Kola Alapanini, who told CNN that he filed an appeal on his behalf on 7 September.

Alapani told CNN that he or other lawyers working on the case had not been given access to Farooq by Kano state officials.

He said that he could find out about Farooq’s case when he was working on the case of Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for Ishaninda in Kano Upper Sharia court.

“We came to know that he was convicted on the same day, by the same judge, in the same court, for Ishaninda and we came to know that no one was talking about Omar, so we had to file an appeal for him. Had to move quickly, “said.

“Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. It is inconsistent with the Constitution of Nigeria.”

The lawyer said that after the arrest, Farooq’s mother had fled to the neighboring town after the mob landed at her house.

“Everyone here is afraid to speak up and is living in fear of retaliation attacks,” he said.

UNICEF on Wednesday released a statement “expressing deep concern” about the sentence.

UNICEF representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins said, “The sentence of this child – Omar Farooq of 13 years – to 10 years in prison with monthly labor is wrong.” “It also disregards all the core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication, Kano State – have signed.”

Kano State, like the predominantly Muslim states in Nigeria, follows secular law as well as Sharia law.

CNN contacted a spokesperson for the Governor of Kano State for comment, but did not hear back before publication.

The organization said in a statement that UNICEF has called on the Nigerian government and the Kano State government to urgently review the matter and withdraw the sentence.

“This case underscores the urgent need to expedite the implementation of the Kano State Child Protection Bill to ensure that all children under the age of 18, including Omar Farooq, are protected – and Kano All children are treated according to child rights standards., ”Hawkins said.