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Nigeria: Further information on Fear of ill-treatment / legal and medical concern

, رقم الوثيقة: AFR 44/001/2001

Lawyers acting for Bariya Ibrahima Magazu, now reportedly stand a good chance of ensuring that she is allowed to appeal against her sentence. Local human rights groups have been involved in supporting her right to appeal.

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 44/001/2001
12 January 2001
** Please limit appeals to four per section **
Further information on UA 295/00 (AFR 44/11/00, 27 September 2000) and follow-up
(AFR 44/13/00, 14 December 2000) - Fear of ill-treatment / legal and medical
concern
NIGERIABariya Ibrahima Magazu (f), sentenced to flogging
Lawyers acting for Bariya Ibrahima Magazu, who was sentenced to 180 lashes
in September 2000 for having sexual relations outside marriage, now reportedly
stand a good chance of ensuring that she is allowed to appeal against her
sentence. Local human rights groups have been involved in supporting her right
to appeal.
She was pregnant when she was convicted, and the sentence was to have been
carried out after the birth of the child. She gave birth in late December,
but court officials have now reportedly said the punishment will not be carried
out for at least a year, until after the baby is weaned, and will be reduced.
The Zamfara State authorities have reportedly said they are unwilling to respond
to appeals from human rights groups but that they are open to arguments based
on Islamic law made through the courts. There appear to be grounds for appeal,
including the fact that Bariya Ibrahim Magazu was apparently coerced into having
sex and that, even if she gave consent, she may be younger than previously
reported and below the legal age of consent.
Under the Sharia Court Act of October 1999 and the Sharia Penal Code of Zamfara
State of January 2000, she has a right of appeal to the higher courts. She
was convicted by the Higher Sharia Court in Tsafe, Zamfara State, and may appeal
to the Upper Sharia Court in Gusau, and then, if unsuccessful, to the Zamfara
State Sharia Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Lawyers acting on her behalf made an application on 9 January 2001 to the Upper
Sharia Court in Gusau for a copy of the trial court proceedings and for leave
to appeal. The trial court proceedings are expected to be made available on
18 January.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English or your own language:
- welcoming reports that the punishment of Bariya Ibrahim Magazu has been
postponed, and that she may be allowed to exercise her full rights of appeal
under the law;
- urging the authorities to allow her to exercise those rights of appeal, and
provide her with any assistance she needs to do so;
- in the event that the appeal is rejected, urging that the punishment is not
carried out.
APPEALS TO:
Alhaji Ibrahima Okala
Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General
Government House
Zamfara State, Nigeria
(or through the Nigerian Embassy or High Commission in your country)
Chief Bola Ige
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation
2
Ministry of Justice, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Fax:+ 234 9 523 5208 c/o Minister of Foreign Affairs (marked for attention
Minister of Justice)
E-mail:president.obasanjo@nigeriagov.org
ssa@nopa.net
c/o Presidency (marked for attention Minister of Justice)
COPIES TO:
Alhaji Sule Lamido
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Maputo Street, Zone 3, Wuse District
PMB 130, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Fax:+ 234 9 523 0208
and to diplomatic representatives of Nigeria accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 23 February 2001.

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