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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Nigeria delays stoning decision
By Anna Borzello
BBC, Katsina

An Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Katsina has postponed for one month its ruling on the appeal of a woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law.

Amina Lawal, with her baby Wasila
Amina has 'stopped sleeping and eating' due to strain

After a full day in court, the five judges announced that they would decide whether or not to uphold the sentence on 25 September.

Throughout the day, Amina Lawal had struck a lonely figure in the court.

She sat quietly, her eyes cast down, as her young daughter cried and clambered over her before finally falling asleep in her lap.

The 31-year-old woman was convicted in March last year, and has waited 10 months for this, her second appeal, to be heard.

International attention

Her uncle - the only family member to accompany her to the court - said she had stopped sleeping and eating due to the strain of the case.

Twelve states in northern Nigeria have introduced Sharia punishments, including amputation and flogging, in the last three years.

The move, which was welcomed by many people in the region, has also led to heightened tensions and sparked off riots in which several thousand people have been killed.

Amina Lawal's plight has been highlighted by international human rights groups, who argue that stoning is both cruel and inhumane.

Five people have been sentenced to death by stoning in Nigeria in the last three years, but no sentence has yet been carried out.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Hannah Belcher
"A case which has sparked international campaigns"



SEE ALSO:
Amina Lawal campaign 'unhelpful'
13 May 03  |  Africa
Nigerian stoning trial delay
25 Mar 03  |  Africa
Analysis: Nigeria's Sharia split
07 Jan 03  |  Africa


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