Omar Farouq, who was then 16, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Sharia court, in Kano, northern Nigeria. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal by the Kano State High Court on January 22, because Farouq did not have legal representation at his first trial, his counsel Kola Alapinni said.
According to the report
, Alapinni was instrumental in Farouq's release from prison. His Foundation for Religious Freedom discovered and got involved in Farouq's case while working on an appeal for Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy at the Kano Upper Sharia Court.
"We found out they were convicted on the same day, by the same judge, in the same court, for blasphemy and we found out no one was talking about Omar, so we had to move quickly to file an appeal for him," he said.
"Blasphemy is not recognized by Nigerian law. It is inconsistent with the Constitution of Nigeria," he said.
After released by Kano's High Court, Farouq said, "I pray Allah will bless me to become Governor or President to reform the Sharia and to end the injustice on my fellow citizens and myself since in some court cases the offence doesn't warrant the harsh judgment handed down. This is deprivation of your right, oppression, and abuse."