Nigerian Court Acquits Teen from Death Sentence

An Upper Shariah Court in the Nigerian State of Bauchi has discharged and acquitted a woman who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. According to local sources, the judge said that the original sentencing of Hajara Ibrahim, 18, had been wrong.

"I am happy that I have been acquitted," Ibrahim, told AFP after the Nov. 10 ruling. "I thank God and those that helped me through this trying moment."

Ibrahim, who confessed to having had a physical relationship with 35-year-old Dauda Sani, was sentenced to death by stoning on Oct. 5 by the Lere Shariah Court in Bauchi State. Though Ibrahim claimed Sani had promised to marry her, Sani denied the claim and was acquitted since Ibrahim did not have four male witnesses to support her contentions.

Under the controversial Islamic Shariah criminal codes, sex outside wedlock is considered adultery if one of the partners is or has ever been married, and can lead to a mandatory sentence of death by stoning. Also, under Shariah law, men can only be convicted of adultery on the basis of witness statements, while pregnancy is considered sufficient evidence to convict women.

After the sentencing, Ibrahim