Appeal Planned for Nigerian Woman Facing Death by Stoning

Christian President Vows to Support Her Move

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SOKOTO, Nigeria, JAN. 11, 2002 ( An Islamic court will re-examine the case of a woman convicted of adultery and condemned to death by stoning, judicial authorities announced.

Safiya Husaini, 35, was condemned to death in October by a Muslim court in Sokoto. She gave birth last February to a baby girl, although she was divorced. The court accused her of adultery.

Under Islamic law, pregnancy is the only evidence required in such a case. Safiya Husaini´s lawyers will appeal, contending that their client was raped and is not responsible before the law. Moreover, they will argue that the charges involve actions that occurred before Islamic law came into force in the state.

If the appeal is rejected, Husaini´s lawyers will be able to make a new appeal to a higher court in Kaduna, another northern city, and eventually to the supreme federal court of Abuja.

The matter has sparked reaction abroad. Hundreds of people protested with torches on Wednesday in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Rome. The Nigerian government, headed by Christian President Olusegun Obasanjo, promised to support Husaini´s appeal.

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