Skip to comments.Stoned death awaits rape victim in Nigeria
Posted on 12/09/2001 5:47:23 AM PST by stilts
Safiya Husaini, a 35-year-old Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning, has led a harsh life, from marriage at 12 to a sentence of death which she says is due to rape. Born the fifth of 12 children to a farmer and illiterate herbal doctor in a remote village in the semi-desert north of Nigeria, she lives today at home awaiting news on her appeal, an appeal many here think will fail.
"We are rural people and we are not familiar with modern dates. All I know is that I was born 35 years ago," she told AFP in an interview this weekend, speaking in Hausa, one of the native languages used most widely across the region.
Tired, her face heavily lined, she looks older than her 35 years, sitting on a mat in the heat of the thatched mud-walled room of her father's home wearing the traditional long plaits and headdress of a Fulani woman, her eyes cast down, her almost toothless mouth showing a weak and nervous smile.
Safiya's story, sadly, bears elements of many women's lives in northern Nigeria. Intelligent but given no formal education as a child, she spent her early years on the remote farm, fetching water and herbs for her father, a quiet child, according to neighbours.
In 1978, aged 12, she was married off to a boy, Yusuf Ibrahim, from a neighbouring village in line with the local custom of early marriages for girls that health workers blame for many problems in later life. Though almost children themselves, they loved each other, she said, and she bore him four children, three girls and a boy, but the marriage was not to last.
"My husband really loved me but my mother-in-law has a quarrel with my family. After seven years of arguments, she forced him to divorce me," Safiya said. A divorced woman has to return to her family for support and four months after her divorce, aged 19, Safiya was married to a new husband, but after a few months he too left.
"It was shameful. A few months after the marriage he left..." and divorce followed, she said. In 1989, after two years at home, and under pressure, she remarried again, staying with that man in an unhappy marriage until 1998 when, this time, she initiated the divorce.
All the while, Safiya was getting, and rejecting, the attentions of another village man, she said, 60-year-old Yakubu Abubakar, a friend of her father. He is the man who confessed to police earlier this year that he was the father of her latest child, 10-month-old Amina, born in February.
In June, Safiya was arrested by police enforcing a new Islamic law code and charged with adultery. In October, she was found guilty by an Islamic court and sentenced to death by stoning, the sentence which is now under appeal.
Under Islamic law a woman, once married, even if later divorced, commits adultery if she engages in sex unless she is remarried. Pregnancy is the only proof required. Abubakar, in court, withdrew his confession and was discharged. Already married to two women in the village, he has now fled.
Safiya says she was coerced into sex and this, and the timing of the introduction of the Islamic law, is the basis of her appeal. Whatever happens, she says, she is bitter. "Yakubu was set free while I was sentenced to die. I am bitter. I am to die for being raped and the man who did it is set free," she said.
A slender silver lining is that since her case came to attention here, her first husband, whose mother has since died, has returned and asked her to re-marry him, which, if her appeal is successful, she said she would do.
Caring for her 10-month-old baby daughter, an eight-year-old daughter, with her other children grown up, this would at last make her happy, she said.
"He is a good man. If I am acquitted, I will go back and become his wife again...I will be happy again in his home."
Islamic law. From the same people who brought you the peaceful religion.
Regressive, stone-aged cult.
And it's a government attempt to ahh ahh ahh - well to do something unconstitutional. ;-)
And remember, there are many roads to heaven. This religion, which mandates stoning of rape victims, is just one of the many ways.
BTW, anyone bring this to Hillary's attention?
Why do you think she had so many husbands? CIA toppled them one by one.
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