Nigerian woman pleads for stoning reprieve


Peace, Love and Unity
Veteran Member
Reaction score
Yep - another high-profile case of a owman sentenced for stoning in Nigeria.

Although there is often a consensus of this being a barbaric practice, it should be very well remembered that it has its roots very much in Old Testament Mosaic Law.

Nigerian stoning appeal heard

KATSINA, Nigeria (AP) -- Tears of fright in her eyes, a 32-year-old Nigerian single mother cuddled and nursed her young daughter in a sweltering Islamic appeals court Wednesday as lawyers pleaded she be spared death by stoning for bearing the child out of wedlock.

Heavily veiled and draped, Amina Lawal appeared overwhelmed by the crush of riot police, journalists and rights workers as she arrived for a case that has sparked international campaigns on her behalf.

"I've never been this afraid," Lawal said, tears rolling down her downcast face as she made her way past riot police ringing the courthouse in northern Nigeria's Katsina state. "I'm tired of all this."

In her arms, daughter Wasila, whose birth brought Lawal's death sentence for adultery, stared wide-eyed up at her mother.

Lawal is the best known of three people awaiting stoning sentences in a dozen northern Nigerian states that have adopted Islamic law, or Shariah.

Two other condemned already have been given clemency; no stoning sentence has yet been carried out.
document.cookie = 'msreturn='+document.URL; function getSelectedButton() { if (document.alertbox.alertradio.length) { for (var i = 0; i < document.alertbox.alertradio.length; i++) { if (document.alertbox.alertradio.checked) { var newArray = (document.alertbox.alertradio.value).split("|"); document.alertbox.type.value = newArray[0]; document.alertbox.value.value = newArray[1]; return true; } } } else { // there is only one alertradio button so the browser does not treat it as an array. if (document.alertbox.alertradio.checked) { var newArray = (document.alertbox.alertradio.value).split("|"); document.alertbox.type.value = newArray[0]; document.alertbox.value.value = newArray[1]; return true; } } alert("Please choose an alert to create."); return false; }

Introduction of Islamic law has heightened Muslim-Christian tensions in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Heightened religious, ethnic and political violence has claimed at least 10,000 lives since President Olusegun Obasanjo's 1999 election ended 15 years of repressive military juntas.

An Islamic court convicted Lawal in March 2002 following the birth of her baby, more than two years after Lawal and her husband divorced.

Judges ordered her buried up to her neck in sand and stoned.

While appeals continue, courts have ordered Lawal's execution postponed until her child -- now nearly 2 -- is weaned.

The alleged father of the baby denied responsibility and was acquitted.
On Wednesday, Shariah court prosecutor Nurulhuda Mohammad Darma argued Lawal's pregnancy and divorced status were "enough evidence" that adultery had been committed.

"There is no other excuse that is acceptable," Darma told the court.
However, in closing remarks, Darma said the prosecution "would not object if the court finds a good reason to set Amina free."

He told journalists later that the prosecution would drop the case if Lawal wins this appeal.

Judges said Wednesday they would announce their ruling Sept. 25.
Defense lawyer Aminu Musa Yawuri urged judges to acquit Lawal, arguing that an earlier confession was invalid because no one had explained to Lawal -- a poor, uneducated woman from a farming family -- the nature of the offense or the punishment.

Yawuri also contended that under some interpretations of Shariah law, babies can remain in gestation in their mother's womb for up to five years, making it possible under Islam that her ex-husband could have fathered the child.

"I expect an acquittal," head defense lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim told reporters later. "In case that does not happen, we are prepared for the worst. We will go up to the Supreme Court."

Katsina state authorities have insisted the case go through the Shariah appeals process despite requests by Nigeria's federal government that Lawal be freed.

"Amina is very worried. Sometimes she can't eat," Lawal's uncle, 50-year-old Magaji Liman, told journalists before the hearing opened.
"She wants to see the end of this case so that she can marry and have a normal life," Liman said.

As the case began in a stifling court room, Lawal appeared distracted from proceedings, calmly nursing and playing with her gurgling toddler.
She rarely watched the lawyers, at one point falling asleep with her toddler also nodding off in her arms.

Nearly an hour into the hearing, the chief judge, or Grand Khadi, Aminu Ibrahim, warned the dozen or more volunteer and charity-appointed attorneys clamoring to give arguments on Lawal's behalf not to dally.
"The case has dragged on for too long," Ibrahim said.

"It is not good ... to keep her fate in the balance any further," Ibrahim said, prompting Lawal to gaze up briefly at the judge.