Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Friday, August 15, 2003  

The following e-mail just slipped into my inbox. It concerns the Nigerian woman Amina Lawal, who in 2002 was sentenced to be stoned to death for committing adultery, by a court in the north of the country under so-called "Sharia Penal Legislations".

Subject: Capital punishment for 'adultery'


The Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death
sentence for Amina. Lawal, condemned for the crime of adultery on August 19th 2002, to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death. Her death was postponed so that she could continue to nurse her baby. Hearing on her execution is now set for 27 AUGUST 2003....

It will only take you a few seconds to sign Amnesty's online petition. Please sign the petition now, then copy this message into a new email and send it to everyone in your address book....

Thanks for reading this. Please take the time to sign the petition....

Note that the headline says that Ms Lawal is due to be executed on the 27th, but the text says that only a hearing is set for that date. I checked Amnesty International's website to investigate the discrepancy, and came up with the following:

12 August 2003

Nigeria: Amina Lawal's Appeal Case to Be Heard on 27 August

After several adjournments, the hearing of Amina Lawal's appeal is due to take place on 27 August 2003 in her home state of Katsina, northern Nigeria. Amina Lawal and her lawyers are expected to be present at the hearing. The judicial process should follow its course if the quorum of judges is met this time.

Amnesty International continues to receive queries falsely claiming that Amina Lawal's execution is imminent - before or on 27 August - and referring to Amnesty International as a source.

No execution of the sentence is due before or on that date.

Amnesty International understands that Amina Lawal's right to legal representation and her right to appeal are guaranteed at this stage. She is not in detention and has good legal representation. She is also being supported by a coalition of Nigerian women's groups and human rights groups. Amnesty International is in close touch with these organizations....

So that clears up that, and I will now delete the email from my inbox (as I did with the similar cry-wolf emails I was inundated with prior to the invasion of Iraq). Cases like Ms Lawal's are hardly helped when they're trivialised by those who would deliberately distort facts and sensationalise issues, in gramatically incorrect language, only for their own selfish ends.

posted by Jonathan | 2:43 PM 0 comments


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