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NZ Protest Over Nigerian Stoning Sentence

22nd August 2002

NZ Increases Protest Over Nigerian Stoning Sentence

The New Zealand Government is stepping up its protest to the Nigerian Government over the sentence of death by stoning imposed on a woman for having a child out of wedlock, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

“New Zealand first raised the case of Amina Lawal with the Nigerian Government through our High Commission in London in July this year following the decision taken by a lower Sharia court to sentence her to death by stoning.

“Our High Commissioner in London, Russell Marshall who is accredited to Nigeria will raise this case yet again following this decision by the Sharia Court of Appeal.

“I have taken the further step of writing directly to the Nigerian Foreign Minister urging that Amina Lawal not be subject to the death penalty.

“While New Zealand opposes the application of the death penalty in all cases, the cruel nature of how it is inflicted under Sharia law, by stoning, makes its application in this case utterly unacceptable by any human rights standards. Such an action is incongruous in the 21st century.

“Different countries and cultures have differing approaches to moral standards. However, the application of the death penalty to a woman who has a child out of wedlock must be regarded as an utterly disproportionate sentence in any culture.

“New Zealand strongly adds its voice to other members of the international community who are speaking out on this case and calls on the Government of Nigeria to intervene to prevent this execution from taking place,” Mr Goff said.

Ends

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