By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
The Muslim court that sentenced Husaini to be stoned did show mercy by allowing her to wean her eight-month-old girl and stay home with her family before the sentence is exacted.
Residents in her village of Tungan Tudu, in the state of Sokoto, first reported the case to the police when they discovered that Husaini was pregnant. The man in the case, 60-year-old Yakubu Abubakar, a cousin of Husaini, got off; he was acquitted by Judge Alhaji Muhammad Bello Sanyinlawal. Three local cops testified that the cousins had sex three times, but the judge threw out their testimony because under religious law, there have to be four witnesses, the BBC reports. During the trial, the court was packed to overflowing, while Husaini sat in the dock, nursing her squalling baby.
Sokoto is one of more than a dozen states in predominantly Islamic northern Nigeria that have adopted Shariah, the Muslim code, in the past two years. A teenage mother received 80 lashes for committing adultery, and an elderly man was sentenced to be stoned to death because he sodomized a minor. Two people convicted of stealing had their hands cut off. Hundreds have been killed in fighting between Christians and Muslims in the area.
The Husaini case has shocked Europe—in Spain alone, 650,000 signatures have been collected against killing her. The Nigerian government, which oversaw installation of the Muslim code, now says it is unconstitutional.Additional reporting by Gabrielle Jackson, Meritxell Mir and Michael Ridley.