Nigerian Man Forced Into Mental Hospital After Declaring Himself An Atheist

Mubarak Bala's family reportedly forced him into a hospital as a "psycho patient" because he said he doesn't believe in God.

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A 29-year-old Nigerian man has been locked inside a mental institution and treated for insanity, according to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

Mubarak Bala was apparently committed to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital by his family on June 13. An IHEU-affiliated lawyer reportedly has visited Bala in the hospital and said he has become increasingly desperate. Bala reportedly was also sedated and medicated.

Bala has said on Twitter that he was committed for not believing in God. He has also said he is communicating with the outside world with cell phones that were "sneaked" inside.

In case I can't find another smartphone to keep in touch, know that my family will never accept that I am sane, cuz I said there was no Adam

ExMuslim@mubarakbala

In case I can't find another smartphone to keep in touch, know that my family will never accept that I am sane, cuz I said there was no Adam

8:40 PM - 20 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"@riwasaku: @mubarakbala You're in a psychiatric institution?" Positive! For saying there is no God, nor Adam, they said I deny 'history'.

ExMuslim@mubarakbala

"@riwasaku: @mubarakbala You're in a psychiatric institution?" Positive! For saying there is no God, nor Adam, they said I deny 'history'.

11:44 PM - 15 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

According to Bala, his family said he had "psychiatric problems" and took him to a doctor. That doctor dismissed those claims, so his family characterized him as delusional and got a second doctor to commit him last week.

The BBC reported that the second doctor said Bala's atheism was a side effect of a "personality change." In a letter, Bala also wrote that his insanity diagnosis was based on so-called blasphemous statements and his rejection of Islam. He adds that he was given drugs and injections for being a "psycho patient."

My new psycho-brothers, in the dungeon. Haven't slept due to pills messing my brain.

ExMuslim@mubarakbala

My new psycho-brothers, in the dungeon. Haven't slept due to pills messing my brain.

11:27 PM - 15 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Bala's case emerged via social media and blogs.

Bala — who joined Twitter in 2011 and has tweeted extensively about atheism — began reaching out online after he was put in the hospital. The blog Godless Mom reported getting an email from Bala last week and subsequently working to corroborate the story. At the same time, Bala was apparently tweeting pictures from inside the hospital.

"@AgnosticMuvment: You a doctor/psychiatrist? "@mubarak: My psycho ward "" an inmate, they treat atheism as a disease.

ExMuslim@mubarakbala

"@AgnosticMuvment: You a doctor/psychiatrist? "@mubarak: My psycho ward "" an inmate, they treat atheism as a disease.

11:42 PM - 15 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Bala's family is Muslim and he lives in Kano state, an area of Nigeria that has had Sharia law since 2000. Bala's confinement has since prompted a petition, and a social media campaign around the hashtag #freemubarak.

Mubarak's only crime is that he is intelligent, logical, bold and humne...#FreeMubarak https://t.co/fL7FM9RmM3

#FreeMubarak Del_boi@deezer234

Mubarak's only crime is that he is intelligent, logical, bold and humne...#FreeMubarak https://t.co/fL7FM9RmM3

11:22 PM - 26 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Free to think, free to believe, free to live, we exist because we do #FreeMubarak

Lord Mark Lunn@MarkLunn

Free to think, free to believe, free to live, we exist because we do #FreeMubarak

10:47 PM - 26 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Day 6, since last tweet from @mubarakbala #FreeMubarak

alldatjas@alldatjas

Day 6, since last tweet from @mubarakbala
#FreeMubarak

11:25 PM - 26 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

IHEU has said that Bala's condition is deteriorating as a result of spending days on medication. As of Friday morning, the petition calling for his release had more than 4,000 signatures.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

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