13-year-old Nigerian Sentenced For Blasphemy In Kano, Relocates Abroad

A Nigerian teenager who was sentenced by a Sharia Court in 2020, Omar Farouk, has relocated from Nigeria due to threats to his life.

An appellate division of Kano State High Court had in January acquitted Farouk of blasphemy and quashed the 10 years imprisonment passed on him by the state’s Upper Sharia Court on August 10, 2020.

The court also quashed the conviction but ordered a retrial of a 22-year-old musician, Yahaya Shariff-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy by the Upper Sharia Court on the same day it convicted the 13-year-old boy.

However, an international organisation, Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, in a post on its website said Farouq was facing further threats to his life from some extremists in Kano State and has been relocated from Nigeria. 

“He is still under severe threat by extremist groups. In order to avoid a possible attack, Omar had to immediately relocate following his release,” Director of Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Piotr Cywinski, said.

“We plan to help Farouq to build a new life. Depending on the amount raised, we plan to provide him with a new home in a safe environment outside the Kano State where he was accused and tried, pay for his education, and also compensate part of the costs incurred by the lawyers supporting him in Nigeria.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through its Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, had said Farouk’s sentencing with menial job, was wrong and negated “all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication, Kano State – has signed to.”

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