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Reported by Kacie Whaley
A man is being forcibly held in a Nigerian mental institution for being an Atheist.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mubarak Bala from Kano, Nigeria was admitted into Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital by his family on June 13th, reportedly after a confrontation between him and his Muslim family that was fueled by Bala renouncing his belief in God. Allegedly, the confrontation involved Bala’s father, three uncles, and brother physically attacking him and injecting him with a sedative, reported ThisIsAfrica.
Bala, who holds a degree in chemical engineering, used a cell phone that was smuggled into the mental hospital to send pictures and tweets describing his condition. “My neck still hurts, from the strangle-hold of my father, and the beat of uncles dislocated my finger and arm, I then got sedated by me bro,” Bala tweeted on June 20th. His Twitter name reads “ExMuslim.”
According to Vice News, Bala’s family contacted two doctors about his anti-religious pledge, with the first seeing no issues with Bala’s belief, and the second doctor claiming that Bala’s decision was due to a “personality change.” The family told the second doctor that Bala had been experiencing delusions and calling himself “governor.”
Lawyer Muhammad Bello Shehu said that Bala’s father believed he was protecting the whole family by admitting Bala to the hospital. “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,” said Shehu.
Bala said that his father felt he had to declare him insane because of his background as an Islamic leader. He also revealed that while he was under the sedative that was given to him by his family, they used his cell phone to tweet that he was still a Muslim.
Bala has been using his phone to contact human rights organizations, and has found a lawyer who is attempting to get Bala released.
A petition has been started in support of Bala’s release that has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.
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