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Nigeria: Amina Lawal's appeal case adjourned

Nigeria: Amina Lawal's appeal case adjourned again to 25 September

An Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Katsina has once again postponed its ruling on the appeal of Amina Lawal who was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law.

On 27 August 2003, Amina Lawal's hearing of her appeal was postponed to 25 September.

"Unfortunately, this case keeps getting adjourned, which adds to the ordeal of Amina Lawal and her son who have not been able so far to lead a normal life," Amnesty International said today.

Amina Lawal and her team of lawyers were present at the hearing yesterday and the grounds on which this latest adjournment was made is yet to be known.

Background Amina Lawal, a 31 year-old Muslim woman, was found guilty by an Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Katsina in March 2002 after bearing a child outside marriage. Under Sharia Penal Legislation in place in several northern Nigerian states, this was sufficient for her to be convicted of the crime of adultery and summoned to appear before a Sharia tribunal to respond to a "crime" which now carries a punishment of death by stoning according to new Sharia penal legislations introduced in Nigeria in 1999.

On 25 March 2003, the appeal of Amina Lawal's hearing in Katsina state, northern Nigeria was postponed to 3 June due to the unavailability of one of the judges. An Amnesty International delegation attended the session.

The subsequent postponement of the hearing of the appeal from 3 June to 27 August 2003 was again because of the lack of quorum of members of the tribunal.

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