Sep 8, 2003
Amina Lawal is a young Nigerian woman condemned to death by stoning in March of 2002, in the name of the Islamic law. This law, the "sharia," was introduced into the penal code by the military regime in 1999. The crime of this mother of three, in the eyes of the religious law, was having a child "outside marriage." She is appearing before a judge at the end of August in an appeal [against the sentence]. Her lawyer, who is a woman, is not allowed, by this same reactionary set of laws, to defend her in court. Only a man is allowed to speak in her name. Which is the point of this religious law – it is, above all, a law against women.
A campaign by Amnesty International is trying to save the life of Amina Lawal. On Tuesday before her appeal, 200 people protested in front of the Nigerian embassy in Paris.
Another young Nigerian woman, Safiya Husseini, was also condemned by a religious tribunal to death by stoning in 2001 for adultery. Her life was saved by an international campaign in which 600,000 people signed a petition against her death, forcing the president of Nigeria to suspend the sentence.
Here are two cases of religious barbarism made public. But how many similar cases are unknown, cases in other African, Asian or Arabic countries governed by fundamentalist dictatorships? And these dictatorships are the good friends of the three most important powers in the world – the U.S., Britain and France.