25 Jun 2014

Non-believer sent to mental institution

4:10 pm on 25 June 2014

A Nigerian man has been sent to a mental institution in Kano state after he declared he did not believe in God, a humanist charity says.

Mubarak Bala, 29, is said to have been forcibly medicated by his Muslim relatives, despite being given a clean bill of health by a doctor, the BBC reported.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) said a Lagos-based group had asked a lawyer to take up his case.

Kano is a mainly Muslim state and adopted Sharia (Islamic law) in 2000.

The IHEU said when Mr Bala told relatives he did not believe in God, they asked a doctor if he was mentally ill.

Despite being told that he was not unwell, Mr Bala's family then went to a second doctor, who declared his atheism was a side-effect of suffering a personality change, the group said.

Mr Bala, a chemical engineering graduate, was forcibly committed to a mental institution but was able to contact activists using a smuggled phone.

IHEU spokesman Bob Churchill said the group was concerned about his "deteriorating condition" and called for his "swift release".