Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Warsaw, Poland, Dr. Piotr Cywinski, has volunteered himself and 119 other adults from around the world to be jailed in the stead of a Nigerian teenager sentenced to prison for blasphemy in Kano State.
In an appeal written to President Muhammadu Buhari, 48-year-old Cywinski proposed a one-month sentence each for the volunteers to cover for the 120-month sentence handed down to 13-year-old Omar Farouq who was found guilty of blasphemous utterances in a conversation with hit friend, back in August.
In the letter dated September 25th, 2020, Cywinski argued that Farouq was too young to be fully aware of his actions, and had a future ahead of him which could be lost if he served the full 10-year term.
He also said he would bear the burden of furthering Farouq’s education should his request be granted.
He wrote, “As the director of the Auschwitz Memorial, that commemorates the victims and preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity.
“I wish to request the pardon of this 13-year-old boy. Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age. He should not be subjected to the loss of the entirety of his youth, be deprived of opportunities, and stigmatised physically, emotionally, and educationally for the rest of his life. I am convinced that the authority you possess can still undo this sentence.
“However, if it turns out that the words of this child absolutely require 120 months of imprisonment, and even you are not able to change that, I suggest that in place of the child, 120 adult volunteers from all over the world, gathered by us – myself personally among them – should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison. In total, the price for the child’s transgression will be the same, and we will all avoid the worst.
“If you agree to grant clemency, or to the above proposal in lieu of punishment, I will make an attempt to provide financial help for the boy’s proper education. This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.”