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Nigeria
25.09.03
Urgent Interventions

Nigeria: Appeal court acquits Amina Lawal

Case NGA 250302.6 VAW
Follow up to Case NGA 250302.5 VAW
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Acquittal of Amina Lawal

Geneva, 25 September 2003

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information concerning the case of Amina Lawal who was sentenced to death by stoning by a Sharia court in Katsina State in Nigeria.

New information

According to information received, on September 25, 2003, an Islamic court of appeal in Katsina State acquitted Amina Lawal on charges of adultery. It is reported that this court’s decision is final.

Brief reminder of the Situation

On Friday 22 March 2002, a Sharia court at Bakori in Katsina State sentenced Ms. Lawal to death after she confessed to having had a child while divorced. The man named as the father of her baby girl reportedly denied having sex with her and the charges against him were discontinued. In those Northern Nigerian states that apply Sharia law, pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence to enable a woman to be convicted of adultery.

The charges were upheld by an Islamic court on the first appeal. Ms. Lawal’s case was repeatedly postponed since last year until today’s acquittal.

OMCT notes that Sharia law remains in force in many Northern States of Nigeria. Given past interpretations of this law, OMCT remains concerned that women in these states continue to be vulnerable to corporal and capital punishments.

Remarks

OMCT sincerely thanks the concerned organizations and individuals who have supported Amina Lawal throughout her case.
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