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



Omar Farouq was convicted in a sharia court in Kano state in northwestern Nigeria after he was accused of using bad language towards Allah in an argument with a friend.

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

Farouq’s sentence is in violation of the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian Constitution, his lawyer Kola Alapinni told CNN they filed an appeal on his behalf on September 7.

Alapinni told CNN that he or other lawyers working on the case have not been given access to Farouq by Kano State authorities.

He said he happened to find out about Farouq̵

7;s case when he was working on the Sharif-Aminu case, which was sentenced to death for blasphemy at Kano Upper Sharia Court.

“We found out that they were convicted the same day by the same judge in the same court for blasphemy, and we found out that no one was talking about Omar, so we had to move quickly to lodge an appeal with him. ,” he said. said.

“Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. It is contrary to Nigeria’s Constitution.”

The lawyer said Farouq’s mother had fled to a neighboring town after crowds came down on their home after his arrest.

“Everyone here is afraid to talk and lives in fear of retaliation,” he said.

UNICEF issued a statement on Wednesday expressing “deep concern” over the verdict.

“The sentence of this child – 13-year-old Omar Farouk – to 10 years in prison for hard work is wrong,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “It also denies all the fundamental principles of children’s rights and children’s justice that Nigeria – and implicitly the Canoe State – have signed.”

The canoe state, like most predominantly Muslim states in Nigeria, practices sharia law alongside secular law.

CNN contacted a spokesman for Kano State’s governor for comment, but had not heard back before the announcement.

UNICEF has called on the Nigerian government and the government of the Canoe State to immediately review the case and reverse the verdict, the organization said in a statement.

“This case further underscores the urgent need to expedite the adoption of the Kano Child Protection Act to ensure that all children under the age of 18, including Omar Farouq, are protected – and that all Kano children are treated in accordance with child rights standards. ., “Said Hawkins.


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