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Nigerian man detained for being atheist

A lawyer and supporters say a staunchly Muslim family in northern Nigeria has forcefully admitted their son into a mental hospital for declaring he is an atheist

Chemical engineer Mubarak Bala, 29, alerted people to his plight with tweets allegedly from a smuggled phone that he used in the lavatory of Kano city’s Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, where he says he is being forcefully sedated and detained in a psychiatric ward.

In his tweets, Bala said on Friday his father and three uncles assaulted him and his brother injected him with a sedative. He regained consciousness 30 hours later in the hospital.

Lawyer Muhammad Bello Shehu said Bala’s father claimed to have committed his son for his own safety after he announced he was atheist.

“He said that the reason he had to take him to the hospital is for his own security because once people got glimpse that he is denouncing the existence of God … he could be lynched and the house set on fire,” Shehu said.

Bala said that while he was sedated his family used his phone to post on Facebook claims that he had returned to the Muslim faith. He described his father as an Islamic leader who “can’t afford to have a non-Muslim family member, so he declared me insane.”

He complained of physical weakness, weight loss and trembling hands – side effect of all the drugs he is being forced to take, the lawyer said.

His cause has prompted a Twitter campaign, #FreeMubarak and a Change.org petition.

Source: Times Live

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