President Buhari ‘Jail Me’, Foreign Activist Begs
I am ready to be imprisoned in Nigeria so that Umar Farouq, a 13-year-old boy sentenced for blasphemy, can regain freedom, the director of Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, Piotr Cywinski, has said.
Fabenmedia.com.ng recalls that a Sharia court in Kano had convicted Farouq for “using disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.
Following the ruling, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had appealed to the Kano state government to reverse the jail sentence.
In a letter dated September 25 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Cywinski asked the president to grant Farouq a presidential pardon.
He said if Buhari is unable to facilitate the teenager’s release, he and 119 volunteers would serve a month in a Nigerian prison on Farouq’s behalf.
Cywinski wrote: “I permit myself to write to you personally about a young boy named Omar Farouq, who was convicted recently in a Sharia court in Kano State in north-west Nigeria after being accused of blasphemy used during an argument with a friend.
“I wish to request the pardon of this 13-year-old boy. Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age.
“If it turns out that the words of this child absolutely require 120 months of imprisonment, and even you are not able to change that, I suggest that in place of the child, 120 adult volunteers from all over the world, gathered by us myself personally among them should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison.
“In total, the price for the child’s transgression will be the same, and we will all avoid the worst.
“If you agree to grant clemency, or to the above proposal in lieu of punishment, I will make an attempt to provide financial help for the boy’s proper education. This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.
“You will undoubtedly agree with the statement that human rights begin with the rights of the child. I kindly ask you to consider my proposal favorably.”
Fabenmedia.com.ng reports that Auschwitz Memorial preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered.