“The sentencing of this child — 13-year-old Omar Farouk — to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong” UNICEF
13 year old Omar Farouq was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State in northwest Nigeria after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend.
He was sentenced on August 10 by the same court that recently sentenced a studio assistant Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, according to lawyers.
The sentence has been condemned by the Child rights agency UNICEF as “wrong”.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria said “It also negates all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria — and by implication, Kano State — has signed on to.”
Farouq’s punishment is in violation of the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian constitution, said his counsel Kola Alapinni, who told CNN they filed an appeal on his behalf on September 7.
Alapinni told CNN he or other lawyers working on the case have not been granted access to Farouq by authorities in Kano State.
He said he found out about Farouq’s case by chance when working on the case of Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy at the Kano Upper Sharia Court.
“We found out they were convicted on the same day, by the same judge, in the same court, for blasphemy and we found out no one was talking about Omar, so we had to move quickly to file an appeal for him,” he said.
“Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. It is inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”
The lawyer said Farouq’s mother had fled to a neighboring town after mobs descended on their home following his arrest.
“Everyone here is scared to speak and living under fear of reprisal attacks,” he said.
Culled from CNN