Nigeria: Another Sentence to Death by Stoning Under New Sharia Penal Law
Quashed on Appeal
International, March 25, 2004
Amnesty International welcomes the recent decision by the
Upper Sharia Court of Bauchi State in northern Nigeria to quash Jubrin
Babaji’s sentence of death by stoning for “sodomy”.
This latest development follows a number of cases where
convictions and sentences to death have been quashed on appeal, including most
recently the case of Yunusa Rafin Chiyawa on 14 November 2003.
“The quashing, on appeal, of another conviction and
sentence to death by stoning under the new Sharia penal legislation on the
grounds that the trial was unfair, is a positive trend,” Amnesty
Jubrin Babaji was convicted and sentenced on 25 September
2003 for the offence termed as ‘sodomy’ in Section 133 of the Sharia Penal
Code Law 2001 of Bauchi State. An appeal was submitted by the Nigerian
non-governmental organization Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)
which provided a team of defence lawyers.
According to LEDAP, the conviction was quashed on the
basis of the denial of the right of Jubrin Babaji to a fair trial. The main
reasons for the acquittal were based on the fact that the lower Sharia court
had breached the principles of a fair hearing since Jubrin Babaji was not
represented by a legal counsel. Furthermore, his alleged confession was deemed
not to qualify as a confession according to new Sharia penal legislation.
Although Jubrin Babaji’s conviction has been quashed,
the appeal in another case involving a sentence to death by stoning against
Fatima Usman and Ahmadu Ibrahim is still pending with a Sharia Court of Appeal
in Minna, Niger State.
“The death penalty violates the right to life and is
the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, according to Amnesty
International. The organization unconditionally opposes the use of the death
penalty in all cases and for all crimes.”
The Nigerian government should take steps to abolish the
death penalty and amend legislation which provides for the death penalty as
well as other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments at all levels of
Nigerian legislation, including the new Sharia penal legislation.
An Amnesty International delegation met members of the
National Study Group on the Death Penalty during a recent visit to Nigeria to
continue the appeal for the group to recommend abolition of the death penalty
and an immediate moratorium on any pending executions in its final
recommendations to the Federal Government. The recommendations are due in June
For more information please call Amnesty
International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW.
For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org
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