Patrick Okoroafor was just 14 years old when he was arrested in May 1995. Two years later, he was sentenced to death for robbery, along with six others. He did not have the right to appeal and was reported to have been tortured while in police detention.
In 2001, his sentence of death was pronounced “illegal, null and void”, and instead changed to detention “during the pleasure of the governor”. In 2008, the Imo State Prerogative of Mercy Committee recommended that his sentence be changed to life imprisonment.
In May 2009, Patrick’s life sentence was commuted to ten years by the Governor of Imo State. However, the ten year sentence commenced on 29 May 2009 and did not take into account the 14 years Patrick has already spent in prison.
Patrick is now thirty years old and has spent over half of his life in detention.
Prison has had serious consequences for Patrick's health; he suffers from asthma attacks described by prison authorities as "frequent and life-threatening". A prison doctor has recommended that Patrick be released because of his health.
Patrick was a victim of a miscarriage of justice. His right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time and before an independent and impartial tribunal was violated. Owing to these factors, the torture and ill-treatment he suffered while in detention, and the amount of time that he has already spent in prison and on death row, Amnesty International has been campaigning for the immediate release of Patrick Okoroafor from prison.
On 1 October, Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence. Amnesty International is calling on the President of Nigeria to obtain Patrick’s immediate and unconditional release from prison and allow him to celebrate Nigeria’s 50 years of independence at home with his family.
Sign the petition to the President of Nigeria, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan
Image: Patrick Okoroafor in prison. © Private