A Nigerian atheist has been incarcerated in a mental health institution by his family after saying he had lost his belief in God.
Mubarak Bala, 29, is said to have been forcibly medicated for "insanity" for nearly two weeks, despite a doctor's opinion that he has no psychological problems.
Campaigners calling for his release say the case highlights the persecution of atheists in many African countries.
Bala's Twitter account uses the handle "ExMuslim", and his profile says: "Chemical Process Engineer. I stand for Truth & Justice. Religion insults human conscience & reason, duped me that I have another lifetime. Agnostic Atheist."
He lives in Kano in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. The state adopted sharia law in 2000 and has a strict Islamic police force called the Hisbah.
When Bala told his family he had renounced Islam, they took him to a doctor and asked if he was mentally ill, according to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), which has taken up the case. The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, but the family turned to a second doctor, who said his atheism was due to a personality change.
Bala was admitted to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital on June 13 and has since been held there against his will. He has pleaded for help in e-mails and tweets from phones smuggled in. In one e-mail, he said: "And the biggest evidence of my mental illness was large blasphemies and denial of 'history' of Adam, and apostasy, to which the doctor said was a personality change, that everyone needs a God, that even in Japan they have a God."
In one tweet, he wrote: "My neck still hurts, from the strangle-hold of my father, and the beat of uncles dislocated my arm."
But Bala's father tells a different story, according to lawyer Muhammad Bello Shehu. "The father was aware that he had stopping praying and going to mosques for a year now.
"But when he started tweeting about it and going public, that might have endangered his life and his family. So according to the father, the major reason he took him to the hospital was for his own safety ... he could have been lynched for making such announcements."
Bamidele Adeneye, secretary of the Lagos Humanists, said: "I fear for his life. Somebody might go to the hospital to attack him."
The IHEU has expressed concern over Bala's "deteriorating condition" after reports that he is weak. Spokesman Bob Churchill said: "It appears that a warped notion of family honour is the motivation for pressuring Mubarak in this appalling manner."