In Nigeria, a 13-year-old boy has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly insulting Allah during an argument with a boyfriend. The teenager, Omar Farouq, is now in jail, where he is not allowed to receive visitors, according to his lawyer.
The boy was convicted last month, on the same day and by the same Sharia court as 22-year-old singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. That was convicted to the gallows, because he would have offended Allah with his music. The singer’s case received a lot of publicity and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International take action for his release.
The singer’s lawyer found out about Omar Farouq’s case by accident and also went to work for him. “We found out that no one was talking about Omar, so we had to act quickly to appeal for him,” he said. CNN. “Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. This is against the Nigerian Constitution.”
Children’s rights organization Unicef is concerned about the boy. “Sentencing this child to ten years in prison is wrong,” said a spokesman. According to him, the boy also has to do physical labor in prison. “It denies all fundamental underlying principles of children’s rights that Nigeria has signed up to.”
UNICEF has called on local governments and the Nigerian government to review the case and reverse the sentence.
Omar Farouq’s mother has fled to a neighboring town, his lawyer says, after a mob attacked her home after her son’s arrest. “Everyone here is afraid to talk and lives in fear of reprisal.”