Nigeria: Patrick Okoroafor released!
|“I am very happy to be free after 17 years of unjust incarceration. And I‘m also very happy to be reunited with my family after such a very long time.” - Patrick
After 17 years in prison, and being sentenced to death at the age of 16, Patrick walked free on 30 April 2012.
Patrick was just 14 years old when he was arrested for armed robbery – a crime he says he did not commit. Two years later, at the age of 16, he was sentenced to death at a military tribunal. We consider the trial to be grossly unfair, and called for Patrick’s immediate and unconditional release.
|“After Amnesty began its call for my release from prison, and after reading some of the thousands of letters, cards and messages sent to me by Amnesty supporters, I began to hope that I would soon be free.”
Patrick Okoroafor, May 2012
Patrick sincerely thanked his family, members of Amnesty International, German and EU politicians, diplomats and all those around the world who supported him in his time of need, from the bottom of his heart. The letters, cards and messages gave him hope, and helped him through the most difficult times in prison.
Patrick also thanked God for protecting and saving his life throughout his 17 years in jail.
Patrick featured regularly in Amnesty International’s Greetings Card Campaign and has received more than 10,000 cards and letters from supporters in the UK and across the world.
Authorities in Nigeria’s Imo State commuted Patrick Okoroafor’s sentence to life imprisonment months after the original death sentence was imposed. In October 2001, a High Court judgement pronounced the sentence of death on him to be unlawful, null and void and changed his sentence to detention “during the pleasure of the governor” – indefinite detention.
In 2009, one year after Amnesty International launched its campaign to release Patrick; his sentence was reduced to ten years. The following year it was reduced again to two years.Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Patrick and sent him messages in prison: you have helped Patrick to walk free.
We continue to rely on collective action for cases like Patrick's. See how you can help other individuals whose human rights are being denied.