Nigerian Governor Vows to Intercede for Condemned Woman

Says Judge Erred in Applying Islamic Law

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MILAN, Italy, MARCH 4, 2002 ( Ahmad Sani, governor of the Nigerian state of Zamfara, promised to intercede for an unmarried woman sentenced to stoning for being pregnant.

Safiya Husaini, 35, was sentenced to stoning by a Muslim court in the state of Sokoto, after giving birth to a son. A court of appeals will study the case March 18.

Last Friday, Roberto Formigoni, president of the Lombardy region of Italy, appealed to Sani, governor of the first Nigerian state to introduce the Islamic law (in 1999), to do everything possible to save the woman. Sani was visiting Milan over the weekend.

Speaking to the press later, Sani said: «I discussed it with my colleague, the governor of Sokoto, and I have assured Formigoni that the outcome of our discussion will be favorable to his appeal.»

Sani told the Italian newspaper Avvenire said that his state adopted «the Koranic law out of respect for my electoral program and this has led to a marked reduction in crimes.»

According to the governor, in Husaini´s case «there was an error of evaluation by the judge, who had not sufficiently studied the evidence of the young woman´s innocence.»

«Our judges are still not familiar with the new [Islamic] law, and this has caused certain mistaken interpretations,» he added. «One of my concerns will be to ensure that errors of this type are avoided in the future.»

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