The head of the Auschwitz museum has called on the Nigerian president to pardon a 13-year-old boy jailed for 10 years by an Islamic Sharia for blaspheming and said if it was not possible, he would serve part of the boy’s sentence in his place.
Piotr Cywinski, the head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in southern Poland, wrote to Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, 77, about local boy Omar Farouq.
Farouq was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Sharia court in Nigeria’s northwest state of Kano for “making blasphemous statements during an argument”.
Cywinski personally addressed President Buhari in a letter posted on the museum’s Twitter account.
Auschwitz Memorial said on Twitter: “The director of Auschwitz Museum wrote [to] the President of Nigeria and asked him to pardon 13-year old Omar Farouq sentenced for 10 years imprisonment.
“He declares he is ready to share part of the sentence.”
The Twitter post added: “I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity.”
In the letter, Cywinski wrote: “As a director of the Auschwitz Memorial, that commemorates the victims and preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity.”
Cywinski called on the Nigerian president to pardon the boy, adding: “Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age.”
The museum head also volunteered, along with over 120 other people, to spend a month behind bars until the 13-year-old boy’s sentence is served.
In addition, Cywinski offered to pay for the youngster’s further education.
He explained: “This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.
Farouq was accused of “blaspheming” during a row and was sentenced by the Sharia court in Kano in August.
The boy’s lawyer has appealed against the sentence, but no date has been set yet.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF said the sentence was “wrong” and went against international accords that Nigeria signed.
Since the end of the military junta rule in 1999, Islamic extremism in Nigeria has been steadily growing especially in the north where the majority of Muslims live.
Currently, a total of 12 out of 36 states of the federal republic have adopted orthodox Sharia law.
Some of these regions are also under the control of the Islamic terrorist organisation Boko Haram, who demands the introduction of Sharia in all the country’s regions and the banning of education based on Western standards.
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