Nigerian Teen Appeals Stoning
October 27, 2004
Dass, Nigeria—A pregnant Nigerian
teenager appeared before an Islamic court on Wednesday to hear her lawyer
launch an appeal against her conviction for adultery, for which she was
sentenced to be stoned to death.
Hajara Ibrahim, 18, sat quietly in a makeshift cubicle in
the simple one-storey hall housing the Upper Sharia Court in Dass to hear her
counsel challenge a ruling that she should be publicly flogged and put to
The lawyer argued that the 8 October judgment was invalid
because Hajara had not consummated her marriage before sleeping with her
boyfriend and conceiving a child and was thus innocent of the capital crime of
Father and alleged lover look on
“With these arguments we pray to God to quash the lower
court judgement and acquit the accused,” he told the hearing, as Hajara’s
father and her alleged lover looked on from the bare wooden benches of the
“What we are saying is that Sharia should be
implemented properly as prescribed by Islam and devoid of any doubt,” he
Judge Mohammed Mustafa Umar agreed to study the evidence
and adjourned the court until 10 November, when he will pass judgement.
Hajara ‘encouraged by hearing’
Afterwards, the heavily pregnant teenager told reporters
that she felt encouraged by the hearing, and hoped that she might soon escape
“I’m confident of winning the appeal. I’m confident
of my lawyer,” she said.
If Hajara convinces the judge that she was never properly
married then her offence could be reduced to one of fornication, and she would
face 100 lashes rather than a death sentence.
Hajara is the latest young woman to be swept up into
northern Nigeria’s stumbling five-year-old attempt to replace the vast
region’s poorly administered secular criminal justice system with Islam’s
strict Sharia law.
Since 1999, 12 states across the mainly Muslim north of
the country have begun reintroducing Sharia principles into their penal codes,
including punishments such as flogging, amputation and stoning.
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