Wednesday, August 27, 2003

2fer Tuesday, uh, Wednesday from Nigeria...

Bury them up to their neck and stone them!

First....Sentenced Nigerian Woman Appears in Court

KATSINA, Nigeria - Lawyers argued Wednesday for the life of a single mother sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, as the woman cuddled and nursed her toddler in the Islamic appeals court deciding her fate.

Lawal, a divorced woman, was convicted of adultery in March 2002 by an Islamic court following the birth of her girl, Wasila, out of wedlock.

Acting on the Islamic law, or Shariah, adopted in a dozen predominantly Muslim northern Nigerian states, judges ordered Lawal buried up to her neck in sand and then stoned to death.

While her appeals continue, judges have ordered Lawal's execution postponed until she weans the child born of her extramarital affair.

Aminu Musa Yawuri, one of the defense lawyers, told the court that Lawal should be acquitted, arguing that an earlier confession was invalid because no one had explained to her the nature of the offense or the punishment.

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

Second...Islamic Nigerian Court Halts Stonings

DUTSE, Nigeria - An Islamic court on Tuesday suspended what would have been Nigeria's first execution by stoning, ordering the defendant — convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl — into a psychiatric hospital instead.

Family members had sought clemency for Sarimu Mohammed Baranda, 54, saying he was mentally ill.

A court earlier ordered that Baranda be buried up to the neck and stoned to death, the penalty for adultery under the strict Islamic legal code adopted by 12 states in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north.

Baranda had confessed in his May 2002 trial. His family appealed the following month.

Baranda stared into space while the judgment was being read, shaking his head at times.

The adoption of strict Islamic law in northern Nigeria has heightened tensions with the mainly Christian south.