Cablegate: In Bauchi State, Two More Women Sentenced To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

291059Z Oct 04



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. Bauchi State Shari's courts sentenced two
unmarried women to death by stoning for adultery on the
evidence of their pregnancies, while releasing their
partners for lack of evidence. Both women have
appealed and are receiving legal assistance. Since the
adoption in 2000 of Shari'a in 12 states in northern
Nigeria, no women have yet been stoned to death. End

Hajara Ibrahim, 18 and pregnant

1. On October 5 in Lere Local Government Area (LGA) of
Bauchi State, 18-year-old Hajara Ibrahim was sentenced
to death by stoning for adultery after becoming
pregnant outside of wedlock. According to the Shari'a
court that convicted her, she confessed to having sex
with Dauda Sani, a boy who she said had promised to
marry her. He denied ever meeting her and was released
for lack of evidence, but the court deemed her
pregnancy and confession sufficient to convict her of

2. Ibrahim appealed the sentence, stating that she was
not married. A year earlier, her parents had arranged
a marriage for her with a man in Lafia, Nassarawa
State, but she never moved to Lafia to join him. Since
she had never consummated the marriage, her lawyers
argue, she should not have been charged adultery, but
with the lesser crime of fornication, which would carry
a lighter sentence: a maximum of 100 lashes with a

Daso Adamu, a 25-year-old single mother

3. On September 15 in Ningi LGA of Bauchi State, twice-
married Daso Adamu was sentenced to death by stoning
for adultery after admitting to having sex 12 times
with another man, resulting in her pregnancy, after her
second husband left her. Her partner was actually her
first husband, who denied all accusations and was freed
by the Shari'a court for lack of evidence. In October
she was released on bail on grounds that because she
was breastfeeding her child, who is now six months old,
it was a violation of the baby's rights to keep them
both imprisoned.

4. Adamu appealed her sentence on several procedural
grounds, including (1) that the Shari'a court relied
solely on her confession without eyewitness testimony,
and (2) that no one had filed a case of adultery
against her, so it was improper under Shari'a for the
court to proceed with any action against her.

Next Steps

5. Ibrahim's appeal began October 27, and Adamu's will
be heard on November 3. Both women are receiving legal
assistance from a Lagos-based NGO, BAOBAB for Women's
Human Rights.

6. In principle, stoning sentences would be carried
out after the women's children are weaned, so there is
time for the appeals to proceed through the courts. In
addition, Nigerian civil law requires state governors
to ratify all Shari'a death sentences before they are
carried out. Since the adoption in 2000 of Shari'a in
12 states in northern Nigeria, there have been several
high-profile death sentences, but no women yet have
been stoned to death.


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