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Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 20:53 GMT
Nigerian flogged for having sex




An 18-year-old youth in Zamfara State in northern Nigeria is reported to have been flogged for having sex before marriage.

Court officials are quoted by the AFP news agency as saying he received 100 lashes while his female partner watched.

Recent Sharia sentences
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The girl, who is 16, has also been convicted of the same offence and officials say as soon as she recovers from an undisclosed illness, she will also be punished.

Pre-marital sex is forbidden under Sharia law which was recently adopted by the state.

The youth's flogging is just the latest in a number of sentences handed down since Sharia courts began operating in Zamfara last month.

Sharia controversy

Sharia law is also being considered in the northern states of Niger and Kano, but so far Zamfara is the only state to introduce it.

Muslim men at prayer Muslims are the majority in northern Nigeria
In Niger State hundreds of people have demonstrated in support of the adoption of Sharia.

On Monday, thousands of Muslims staged a rally in the northern city of Kaduna, calling for the introduction of Sharia in Kaduna State.

The governor of Zamfara, Ahmed Sani, has provoked nationwide controversy with his decision to introduce Sharia, even though he has promised that it will not be imposed on Christians.

He said the law is intended to check prostitution, drunkenness, stealing, robbery and gambling.

But Christians have expressed concern that it will undermine the country's stability.
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See also:
27 Jan 00 |  Africa
The many faces of Sharia
20 Jan 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Islamic law raises tension in Nigeria
07 Jan 00 |  Africa
Nigerian state 'bans' women's football
27 Oct 99 |  Africa
Nigerian state adopts Islamic law
18 Oct 99 |  Africa
Nigerian Christians challenge Sharia plan

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