Friday, October 04, 2002

More activism.

Hi sisters! I'm still really new to the community, but I thought I'd throw this link out there (and hopefully it hasn't been discussed earlier). I caught about 10 minutes of Oprah today, and was really drawn to what was being discussed.

Its the story of a Nigerian woman, who is in danger of being stoned ... and we can help.

From Amnesty International USA's website:

AMINA LAWAL, a 30 year-old Muslim woman, was sentenced on Friday 22 March 2002 to stoning to death by a Shari'ah court at Bakori in Katsina State in northern Nigeria. Amina allegedly confessed to having had a child while divorced. Pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery according to the new Shari'ah-based penal code for Muslims, introduced in Katsina State. The man named as the father of her baby girl reportedly denied having sex with her and his confession was enough for the charges against him to be discontinued. Amina did not have a lawyer during her first trial, when the judgement was passed. But she has now filed an appeal against her sentence with the help of a lawyer hired by a pool of Nigerian human rights and women's rights organisations.

The hearing of the appeal by the Shari'ah Court of Appeal of Funtua, Katsina State, was set for May 27, 2002 but adjourned twice, after her lawyer argued for an early hearing to take place instead of having the hearing postponed until next year as previously proposed by the court. Amina Lawal is still weaning her baby. Such a long adjournment of the case would have not served any useful purpose and would have deepened the climate of uncertainty created by the whole process. The terms of the bail have also been reviewed. Under these new terms for bail agreed by the court, Amina Lawal will no longer be reporting fortnightly to them. The only condition, however, is that Amina Lawal had to have a 'surety'.

On 8 July 2002, Amina Lawal made the submission of her appeal before the Shari'ah Court or Appeal of Funtua. The hearing of her appeal resumed on 5 August 2002 and the prosecutor presented his case and urged the court to maintain the sentence, death by stoning, passed by the Shari'ah court of Bakori. On August 19, Amina’s appeal was denied. She now has thirty days to make another appeal to the Supreme court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Go to the site and send an email off to the Nigerian ambassador. In fact, sign up for the newsletter. There's so much we can do, if we just invest a couple minutes here and there.

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