Court Overturns Stoning Sentence for Nigerian Woman Accused of AdulterySeptember 25, 2003
by NOW Staff
In a victory for women's rights, a Nigerian court of appeals on Sept. 25 threw out the case against Amina Lawal, a 32-year-old single mother sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.
Lawal was convicted of adultery for giving birth to a daughter out of wedlock, a crime punishable by death under Sharia, the strict Islamic law embraced in northern Nigeria. The man she identified as the child's father was not convicted of any wrongdoing after he brought three male "witnesses" to testify on his behalf. Under Sharia, this constitutes sufficient evidence to clear him of the accusation. Lawal had no such option.
News of the brutal sentence and Lawal's unequal treatment under the law sparked outrage from humanitarian groups around the world. NOW activists sent tens of thousands of letters to Nigerian officials and staged a protest at the Nigerian embassy in Washington D.C. "I am happy," Lawal reportedly said after the sentence was overturned. "God is great and he has made this possible."
Feminist leaders expressed relief at the news of the overturned sentence, but warned against complacency. "Unless both women and men are treated equally under the law in northern Nigeria, other women will certainly be sentenced to death for the 'crime' of becoming pregnant out of wedlock, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "We must continue to demand Nigeria's compliance with international law and even its own constitution in regard to the treatment of women."
For more information:
Actions | Join - Donate | Chapters | Members | Issues | Privacy | RSS | Links | Home
© 1995-2012 National Organization for Women, All Rights Reserved. Permission granted for non-commercial use.