Nigerian Woman Escapes Death Sentence

Lagos Archbishop Hails Court’s Decision Against Stoning

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LAGOS, Nigeria, SEPT. 25, 2003 ( A Catholic archbishop expressed satisfaction after an Islamic appeals court overturned the conviction of a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.

The appeals court in Katsina had examined Amina Lawal’s appeal, and considered the verdict of the Upper Shariah Court «very wrong.» Judge Ibrahim Maiangwa acquitted the woman.

«We are all very pleased that Amina Lawal has been acquitted,» Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos said in statements to the Missionary Service News Agency. «Life is a gift from God, and that blood is life. Consequently, whoever sheds the blood of one of God’s creatures offends God.»

Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie said that this teaching is found not only in Christianity but also in the Koran.

Lawal, 32, a mother of four, was sentenced to death by stoning under the Shariah, or Islamic law, after giving birth to a daughter 10 months after being divorced.

Agence France-Presse, meanwhile, reported that a 20-year-old Nigerian was condemned to death on Tuesday for having had paid for sexual relations with three boys in the state of Bauchi. Bala Ahmed, spokesman of the Bauchi State Tribunal, said the three boys received 50 lashes for their involvement.

«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» to appeal it, the archbishop of Lagos said.

The introduction of Islamic law in a dozen northern states has exacerbated ethnic conflicts in this country of more than 120 million people.

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