Rome Honors Nigerian Once Sentenced to Death for Adultery

ROME, SEPT. 9, 2002 ( Rome gave honorary citizenship to a Nigerian who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in her country but was acquitted on appeal following an international outcry, the Associated Press reported.

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Safiya Hussaini, carrying her infant daughter, received the honor from Mayor Walter Veltroni in Campidoglio square.

«I am grateful and thankful,» Hussaini told a press conference. «You have taken an interest in me without even knowing me.»

Italy has been at the forefront of an international campaign to spare the life of the woman, who was convicted by an Islamic court in Nigeria last year of conceiving a child with a married neighbor. The court ordered that Hussaini be stoned, with the lower part of her body buried in sand.

An appeals court acquitted her in March after ruling that her alleged confession was inadmissible because authorities had not adequately informed her about the crime’s seriousness under Islamic law.

«We hope that this honorary citizenship which we are symbolically giving to Safiya could influence the whole world to put an end to death penalty and that there be respect for the rights of women — taking into account of course, different cultures and religions,» Mayor Veltroni said.

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