Nigeria: woman spared death by stoning

 Safiya Husaini, a Muslim woman who had been convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning walked free yesterday, after a court upheld her appeal. Human rights campaigners around the world, including the San Edigio community in Rome, and Amnesty International had called for the sentence to be lifted. Last month, Dr Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Catholic archbishop of Lagos in south-western Nigeria, offered to die in her place. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, a devout Christian - had also personally called for Husaini's acquittal. Husaini won her case after the court said the original ruling had been unsound. Anti-adultery laws, are now on the statute books in 12 northern Nigerian states, since the re-introduction of Sharia law two years ago. Under Islamic law as practised in northern Nigeria, pregnancy outside marriage is sufficient evidence to convict a woman. In contrast, four eye-witnesses are required for a man to be found guilty of adultery. As the verdict was announced, it emerged that a second woman has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. A Sharia court at Bakori in Katsina State sentenced Amina Lawal to die after she confessed to having had a child while divorced.

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