Amina Lawal Is Free
Some fantastic news on an otherwise dull Thursday afternoon — Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman who had been sentenced to death by stoning by a Nigerian sharia court for the crime of adultery, has had her sentence overturned on appeal. Sharia courts apply strict interpretations of Islamic religious law to what would in the West be seen as petty crimes, things like adultery, theft, and “fornication” (which I presume means any sex act someone powerful does not approve of).
It’s important to note that the court’s decision does not strike at the sharia laws themselves — her acquittal was based on the judges’ belief that she did not have the proper chance to defend herself in her original trial, not that the law she was convicted under was somehow unjust. In other words, she got off on a technicality. Still, given the strength and popularity of the sharia movement in Nigeria, it’s unlikely that anyone could confront it head-on, so this is probably the most positive outcome Ms. Lawal could have dared hope for. Let’s give thanks that she is free tonight, and hope that other women in Nigeria will be spared the kind of horror that she’s had to go through in the future.