• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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UN condemns Nigeria for imprisoning “blasphemous” teen

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The UN children’s agency Unicef has “expressed deep concern” over the imprisonment and treatment of a 13-year-old boy convicted for blasphemy.

In August, Omar Farouq was sentenced to 10 years in prison with menial labour by a Sharia court in the northern state of Kano.

The sentencing “is wrong… it also negates all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria – and by implication, Kano State – has signed on to,” said Peter Hawkins, Unicef representative in Nigeria.

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The sentence is in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991, Unicef said in a statement.

Unicef called on the Nigerian federal and state authorities to urgently review the case with a view to reversing the sentence.

Several states in northern Nigeria introduced Sharia after the country returned to civilian rule in 1999.

The Sharia courts only try Muslims but if a case involves a Muslim and a non-Muslim, the non-Muslim will be given the option of choosing where he/she wants the case to be tried.

The Sharia court can only hear the case if the non-Muslim gives written consent.