Last edited: February 16, 2005

South Africa Lawyers: Stop Stoning Women

News, October 19, 2004
South Africa

Johannesburg—The Nigerian government should intervene to protect two more woman sentenced to death by stoning by Islamic courts, the SA Law Society (LSSA) said on Monday.

Sentencing women to death by stoning went against every human rights standard, yet the Nigerian government permitted this “gross violation of women’s rights” to continue, said Thoba Poyo, chairperson of the LSSA standing committee on gender equality.

She appealed to the government to intervene.

The two women were convicted by Islamic courts in the northern state of Bauchi of having sex out of wedlock.

Both the men they were alleged to have slept with were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Hajara Ibrahim confessed to having sex and becoming pregnant.

She was handed over to her guardian until she delivered the baby, after which she was to be stoned to death, the court said.

Partenity test

Dauda Sani, the alleged father of the baby, was acquitted, although the LSSA pointed out that it would be perfectly possible to determine his paternity once the baby was born.

The second woman, Daso Adamu, was imprisoned in Ningi prison and also sentenced to death by stoning, after admitting to having sex 12 times with a man.

There have been several other instances where Islamic Sharia law re-introduced in 12 northern states in Nigeria in 2000 has doled out the death sentence for adultery.

As yet no one has been lawfully stoned to death, because the cases have always been overturned on appeal, and after intense international pressure.

These two cases are also open to appeal and must be confirmed by the state governor before they are implemented.

However, the LSSA said whether or not the women ended up being stoned to death, it was objectionable that the sentences be given in the first place.

“It has also become quite obvious that only women are punished for adultery.

How can Nigeria be a member of the African Union and the African Court of Human Rights and espouse principles of gender equality and yet continue to practice these human rights transgressions?” asked Poyo.

She said these two new cases gave Nigeria the opportunity to review its judicial system, and in particular the conduct of the Sharia courts.

  • Edited by Andiswa Mesatywa

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