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Nigerian Man Says He Was Declared Insane For Being Atheist

A Nigerian man was committed to a mental hospital after declaring himself an atheist, according to the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Using what he says are smartphones obtained from others at the hospital, Mubarak Bala, 29, has apparently been tweeting and secretly emailing activists for help since he was committed to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital on June 13. Bala has tweeted — using the name "ExMuslim" — that his devoutly Muslim family had him "declared insane" and put in what he refers to as a "psycho ward" because of his atheist beliefs.

The hospital said in a statement that Bala required supervised treatment and was "comfortable and conscious," the BBC reports. A Change.org petition calling for Bala's release currently has more than 4,000 signatures.

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--Jillian Sederholm