Target: President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan
Goal: Release man who was sent to a psychiatric ward after he declared his atheism
In Nigeria, where conflicts have erupted over religion, chemical engineer Mubarak Bala was sent to a psychiatric ward in the city of Kano for declaring himself an atheist. He was brought there against his will by his family and has been abused since his detainment. Nigeria is not known for being accepting towards religions other than Christianity or Islam, and citizens who state they are atheists are met with opposition and violence. This treatment of religious views need to stop, as they are harming citizens and society.
Bala was wrestled into the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital by his father, brother, and uncles. His brother had apparently injected a sedative, so Bala woke up 30 hours later in the hospital. Through a smuggled phone, he tweeted his plight while hiding in one of the hospital’s bathrooms. He stated that his neck still hurt from his dad’s stranglehold, while his fingers and arm are still dislocated by his uncles. Bala’s father stated that he had to commit his son there for his own safety, as people would lynch both his father and Bala for their heresy. But Bala states that he is being drugged and held against his will in the hospital, and while he was sedated, Bala’s family took his phone and posted on Facebook that he has returned to the Muslim faith.
Bala has asked legislators and civil rights activists for help, but none have returned his calls. International bodies such as International Humanist and Ethical Union are offering to help get Bala out of the hospital. You can help too by signing this petition and granting Mubarak Bala his freedom.
Dear President Jonathan,
I find it absolutely atrocious that chemical engineer Mubarak Bala was sent to a psychiatric ward for announcing that he is an atheist. It is a human right to establish your own beliefs without fear of punishment, yet Bala is being drugged and held against his will. I find it appalling that his own father and other family members would be willing to do this to their own blood relative, and I also cannot believe that the government would condone this.
Legislators and civil rights activists will not help his plight, and Bala has to rely on international bodies to get him out of the hospital. I am writing this letter to demand for his immediate release, as your country is violating numerous international laws by keeping him in this hospital. No matter what religion, all persons have the right to believe what they want without fear of prosecution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Agricultural and Stock Department, Publicity Branch via Wikimedia Commons