Nigeria: court frees woman sentenced to death by stoning

 A Nigerian court has freed a woman who had been sentenced to be killed, for adultery by stoning today. The last-minute reprieve for Amina Lawal was issued by the Islamic Court of Katsina, capital of the Northern Nigerian State. She had been sentenced to die, because she became pregnant after being divorced from her husband. The court delayed the death sentence until she had finished breast-feeding the child. Many thousands of people around the world, (including ICN readers) signed petitions calling for Amina's release. The Archbishop of Lagos, Mgr Anthony Olubunmi Okogie said: "We are all very pleased that Amina Lawal has been acquitted," He told the Missionary News Service: "The laws are made for men, but men are not made for the laws." He added: "the Koran itself does not contemplate the death penalty. The Muslim holy book clearly states that life is a gift from God, and that blood is life. Consequently, whoever sheds the blood of one of God's creatures offends God." Meanwhile, the French news agency AFP released the news of another sentence to death by stoning, issued against a man found guilty of sodomy in the northern State of Bauchi. The Archbishop said: "In Nigeria, many people, including many Muslims, are unhappy about these death sentences, which Muslims themselves consider illegal. As regards the Bauchi sentence, I have heard that the man intends appealing against it." Since the introduction of the Sharia law in 12 States in the Muslim-dominated north, no death sentence has been carried out.

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