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Blasphemy: Teenager appeals 10 years imprisonment sentence

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A 13-year-old boy, Omar Farouq, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for blasphemy by the Upper Sharia Court of Kano has on Monday 7th September, 2020 filed an appeal at the State High Court to challenge his conviction.

Farouq, through his counsel, Kola Alapinni, is asking the court to set aside the whole of the judgement of the Upper Sharia Court of Kano.

Omar Farouq was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with menial labour for blasphemy by the same Sharia Court and the same date in Filin Hockey, Kano, Nigeria that sentenced Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death for blasphemy

But in the appeal, Alapinni contended on a sole ground of appeal that the appellant’s trial, conviction and sentencing by the Upper Sharia Court, pursuant to Kano State Penal Code Law 2000 were unconstitutional, null and void, having grossly violated and conflicted with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Universal Declaration of Human Rights respectively.

He contended that Penal Sharia Code law is only applicable and permissible in Islamic theocracies or countries whose constitution allows for such laws, whereas Nigeria is a secular state with constitutional democracy and the constitution being the supreme law.

He added that the offense of blasphemy for which Farouq was convicted is no longer a cognizable offense in Nigeria by virtue of section 10, standing alone or in conjunction with section 38 and 39 of the constitution respectively.

In addition, he contended that the State was quick to charge the accused for blasphemy but neglected and refused to provide him legal representation even though there is an existing framework for legal aid in Kano State.

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