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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Rome honours Nigerian woman
Safiya Husseini with her child, outside court
Safiya's case prompted widespread concern abroad
A Nigerian woman who risked death by stoning is to be made an honorary citizen of the Italian capital Rome.

Rome mayor Walter Veltroni said a vast mobilisation in Rome had helped save Safiya Husseini, who was acquitted of adultery on appeal after an Islamic court in northern Nigeria ruled she should be stoned to death.

Mrs Husseini will receive her honorary title during a ceremony at Rome City Hall on Sunday.

Mr Veltroni added that Romans should also mobilise themselves for another Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, who has been sentenced to death for expecting a baby while being a divorcee.

Italians held protests and candle-lit vigils outside the Nigerian embassy ahead of Mrs Husseini's acquittal.

Normally when a death penalty is cancelled somewhere, the Coliseum is floodlit by night to celebrate the event.

Sharia

Harsh criminal punishments such as stoning, amputation and flogging have been introduced into the legal code in many of Nigeria's majority Muslim northern states over the past two years.

But although amputations have been carried out, no-one has yet been stoned to death.

Relatives of a Nigerian man convicted of raping a nine-year-old girl launched a last-minute appeal this week to try to prevent his sentence of death by stoning being carried out.

The Nigerian federal government regards the application of Sharia law as unconstitutional, but has so far not acted against its use.


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02 Sep 02 | Africa
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