More about Patrick Okoroafor
Information condensed from Amnesty International's greeting
card campaigns of November 2008 and November 2009:
1995 when Patrick Obinna Okoroafor was only 14, he (according to
his brother Henry) "went to the police station because the
police wanted to inspect a car our mother had bought". He was
arrested along with six others, charged with robbery and kidnapping
of which he says he is totally innocent. Police hung him
up, beat him, and used pliers to pull out his teeth. Exactly
two years later, in May 1997, he and the other six were sentenced
to death. Those six, including one who had been 15 at the time of
the supposed crime and was now 17 (Chidlebere Onuoha), were publicly
shot. Patrick's sentence was commuted to life. In 2001 the High
Court of Imo State ruled that the sentence of death had been "illegal,
null and void"; yet that he was "to be detained during
the pleasure of the Governor". That is, indefinitely.
In 2009 his sentence was reduced to 10 years starting immediately.
In other words he is due for release in 2019, after a total of 24
He says: "We are 64 people in the cell. It is poorly ventilated.
We have no modern toilet system, no provision for bathrooms... absence
of enough beddings and mosquito nets... I have spent these years
crying, praying, and reading." He has developed severe asthma.
Here, now aged 29, he has already spent more than half his life.
Points some of which you could add (if you wish) to that
It is reported that his trial was not fair.
The appeal granted to him was limited and the court review was limited.
Sentence of death for someone under the age of 18 is contrary to
He was tortured in police custody.
Why is he still detained after the High Court declared his death
sentence null and void?
Conditions in the prison appear bad, and his health is threatened.
Imo State should declare a moratorium on the death penalty.
You can send him a card, with a simple non-political and non-religious
Aba Prison, PMB 7020
Nigeria has not officially reported any executions since 2002.
But Amnesty and others have found evidence of at least 7 executions
by hanging in 2006; at least 20 death sentences were given in 2007;
there are at least 725 men and 11 women on death row; of them at
least 130 have been there for more than 10 years, and some for more
than 24 years.
Patrick's case has been "adopted" by the East Devon group
of Amnesty International United Kingdom (Maureen
Thurlow or Alison
In 2009, when Patrick (arrested at age 14) had spent the second
14 years of his life in prison, 14 14-year-olds held up signs such
as "14 YEARS IS A LIFE" in front of the Nigerian High
Commission in London.
Patrick's brother Henry (12 years older) has written in Amnesty
Magazine (Sep.-Oct. 2010) that he at first thought Patrick's
arrest was a joke. Their father kept assuring him that Patrick would
be released next day, eventually spent all he had on the case and
was exhausted. Patrick himself had become sick, without hope or
the will to live. But when Amnesty took up his case and hundreds
of cards and letters started arriving, it made a huge difference
to his morale, and his treatment by warders and other inmates became
far better. He has written to Amnesty: "You have given me hope...
When I read some of your letters they make me so happy that I forget
about the prison..." Henry, who lives in Germany, says "Patrick
will become a lawyer - his childhood dream - I'm sure of that. But
when he comes out I want him to come to Germany and rest with me
and my family and have time to adjust. I have a plan set up. I am
fighting injustic and he must be freed."