Historian willing to go to jail for Nigerian teenager

A teenager was sentenced to 10 years in jail because he cursed while speaking about Allah

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Piotr Cywiński, a professional historian and director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, is willing to take the place of a teenager who was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Sharia court in the northern Nigerian state of Kano.

The 13-year-old boy was sentenced in August after using foul language while talking about Allah during an argument with his friend, the Telegram reported.

Cywiński asked that Omar Farouq, the 13-year-old boy, be pardoned.

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Because his pardoning may not possible, Cywiński and 119 other volunteers have requested to take the teen boy’s punishment, serving a month in jail each, Reuters reported.

“Where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity,” Cywiński said via Twitter in a letter to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

The museum director also offered to personally fund Farouq’s education if he gets pardoned, wanting the teenager to be “an aware and educated young citizen” rather than a “destroyed young man,” Newsweek reported.

Although Kano state practices Sharia Law, Farouq’s lawyer, Kola Alapinni, told CNN his client’s punishment violates the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of a Child and the Nigerian Constitution, according to The Telegram.

“Blasphemy is not recognised by Nigerian law. It is inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria,” Alapinni said.

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A team of Islamic sharia enforcers called Hisbah is on patrol in the northern Nigerian city of Kano in an open pickup on October 29, 2013. (AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Baba Jibo Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Kano State Judiciary, said he had not seen the letter, but he noted the president could still pardon the boy.

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