Islamic court postpones stoning appeal

Posted by Nigeria2Day on 2003/07/18 | Views: 909 |

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Islamic court postpones stoning appeal

An Islamic court yesterday indefintely postponed its verdict on an appeal lodged by a man who was last year sentenced to be stoned to death for raping a nine-year-old girl.

An Islamic court yesterday indefintely postponed its verdict on an appeal lodged by a man who was last year sentenced to be stoned to death for raping a nine-year-old girl. Sarimu Mohammed, 54, stands to become the first Nigerian to be stoned to death since 12 northern states controversially reintroduced Islamic Sharia law in 1999.

But a judge in Dutse, capital of the rural northern state of Jigawa, postponed giving a verdict on his appeal yesterday, saying that an eight-day general strike last month had delayed the court's deliberations. "I'm sorry to announce that this case has been adjourned indefinitely. ... We could not convene due to the strike," judge Isa Inuwa told the court. Both the defence and the prosecution expressed frustration at the latest delay in the case, and prosecutor Muktar Ibrahim predicted that Mohammed would eventually win a reprieve.

"It is evident to us that we will not get what we want; that is securing a conviction. So there is no point in the court keeping delaying the verdict. The earlier is the better for us," Ibrahim told reporters. "It's high time that Sarimu should know his fate," agreed defence lawyer Mohammed Gausu, who last year fought to have the case reopened after Sarimu was initially denied the right of appeal. The case has generated controversy around the world. Jigawa State officials in Dutse have said they have received more than 1,000 letters urging them to commute the death sentence.

Sarimu was convicted of raping the girl in May last year and sentenced under Islamic law to be stoned to death. He has confessed to the crime, but his family argue that he is mentally unfit to stand trial and should not be executed. Along with three other outstanding stoning sentences -- imposed on adultery charges against a young single mother and a pair of unmarried ex-lovers -- the case has raised concerns over the application of Sharia justice in several Nigerian states.

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