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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 10:01 pm:   

Some of you may be aware of the case of Amina Lawal. A friend sent this to me just now:

"The Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Amina Lawal,
condemned for the crime of adultery on August 19th 2002, to be buried up to
her neck and stoned to death. Her death was postponed so that she could
continue to nurse her baby. Hearing in the Sharia court of appeal is set
for June 3rd.

If you haven't been following this case, you might like to know
that Amina's baby is regarded as the 'evidence' of her adultery.

Amina's case is being handled by the Spanish branch of Amnesty
International, which is attempting to put together enough signatures to
make the Nigerian government rescind the death sentence. A similar campaign
saved another Nigerian woman, Safiya, condemned in similar circumstances.

By March 4th the petition had amassed over 2,600,000 signatures."

If you'd like to sign, the petition is online here:
http://www.amnesty.org.au/e-card/petition.asp
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Jeff Thomas
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 09:38 pm:   

Horrendous! I just signed...
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KJ
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 02:34 am:   

Good news: Amina Lawal has been acquitted. A higher court overturned the Shariah court's ruling. Chalk up one for sanity.
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 10:19 am:   

It is good news, yes. But it appears to have been very much a case of bowing to international pressure. The judges made it very clear that they had acquited her on a technicality regarding the conduct of the original trial. They affirmed her guilt and made no comment on the appropriateness of the punishment.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 02:02 am:   

Truly? I wouldn't argue with you - we only heard about it on one news service here. The way they reported it, the higher court spoke strongly against the shariah court's ruling, saying that it was 'utterly wrong'. I've been waiting to hear more about it.

It certainly seems the decision was due to international pressure, as you say. And perhaps the secular factions in Nigeria saw it as a good opportunity to score a point against the Islamists, in the eyes of the rest of the world.


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Cheryl
Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 09:03 am:   

Hmm, I've just checked back on the BBC report and it now appears to say something slightly different. The page says it was updated yesterday so they might have changed their interpretation (or I might have mis-read it). It now says that Lawal's guilt was not proven at the original trial. However, aside from continued protests from abroad there is no sign that the Nigerians (or more accurately those in Bauchi province) have changed their view that stoning is an appropriate punishment for adultery. You can find the story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3141762.stm.

The BBC is also following the case of a Nigerian man who has been sentenced to be stoned. He has apparently admitted child abuse, but the penalty of stoning seems to be applied to any case of sodomy, regardless of the ages of the people involved.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 04:21 pm:   

I guess no one likes outsiders telling them how to run their affairs. I don't see how customs like this will change, unless by the instigation of those who actually hold the power locally. How long did it take Western countries to stop burning witches...



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Cheryl
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 07:29 pm:   

Or to stop putting rocks carved with the Ten Commandments in court rooms.
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 09:33 am:   

I'm very curious to see if this man is convicted and sentenced - will the international community come together on his behalf as they did for the woman accused of adultery? I mean, seeing that he has admitted child abuse (was it sexual abuse?) I wonder how willing people will be to save him from the same fate?

Forrest
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 12:36 pm:   

Cheryl - I'm never afraid to let my ignorance show, I hope. What is the story behind those rocks? Were they for throwing?
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 01:27 pm:   

Forrest - I suspect there are plenty of people in the international community who'd like to go over there and cast the first stone.
I have to admit, if he sexually abused a child, I can't muster up much sympathy for him. But it's a good point you're making. Even if the act had been with a consenting adult, would the overseas public care? And are we actually opposed to barbaric punishments, or are we only opposed to them when they're inflicted on people - like mothers with children - who it's easy to identify with and care about?
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Cheryl
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 03:02 pm:   

An Alabama judge installed a large rock carved with the Ten Commandments in his court. A Federal court ruled this unconstitutional on the grounds of the requirement for a separation of church and state. Today's development is a massive rally in Atlanta in support of the judge, attended by many Southern politicians, including the Governor of Georgia. There are parts of the US that would be only to happy to have an Old Testament equivalent of Shariah Law.

(I note in passing that the Ten Commandments implicitly endorse slavery. If it is a crime to covet your neighbor's slave it must be OK to own one.)
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 12:16 pm:   

> There are parts of the US that would be only to happy to have an Old Testament equivalent of Shariah Law.

Hmmm.. would they stop eating pork?


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Cheryl
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 08:18 am:   

Americans don't eat pork, they only eat steak.

Seriously though, in comparison to the UK or Australia, the mix of meats in grocery stores in California is very different. Decent lamb is quite hard to come by.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 11:18 am:   

Really? I'm a bit oblivious to meat. I don't eat it much, and don't eat beef or lamb at all.
I did try kangaroo when a friend cooked some, and as meat goes it was very nice, much tastier than beef. Haven't tried witchetty grubs or anything like that, though. Did you ever eat 'bush tucker' when you've been over here? I can't remember if you said you went to the outback or not.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   

I think some people might have problems giving up bacon, but pork isn't a huge food item here. Or maybe that's just because I live in a highly Jewish area and many people keep kosher.

I do agree with Cheryl that good lamb is harder to find. I can't find good cuts at the supermarket, I have to go to a specialty store if I want it.

Kangaroo sounds interesting. I'm quite fond of ostrich. What is bush tucker?


Oh, and on the topic at hand, it is nice that the sentence got overturned. But I doubt it will have an effect on other cases, unless they also get media attention.
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KJ
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 01:03 pm:   

Bush tucker is native Australian food - anything from roo to snake to crocodile to honey ants. And mangrove worms - long worms that are traditionally eaten by dropping them, alive, down your throat (not typically found on restaurant menus!)
Oh, and dropbears, though they tend to be both fatty and tough.

While I believe we should keep up the pressure on all countries - including our own - to uphold human rights, I also tend to think that societies have to work things out for themselves. I can't think of an example where an attempt to impose change from the outside has really been successful in the long term.


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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 05:48 pm:   

i've eaten some of the 'bush tucker' things: witchetty crubs, snake, and i reckon i even had crocodile once. i'm sure that's what it was, but i was told it was, and it tasted mainly fatty.

mangrove worms sound good though. kinda like eating the still beating heart of a snake, as they do in some asian cultures. (never had it though.)
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Cheryl
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 12:05 pm:   

Kangaroo is really good. Emu is nice too, although much more gamey. Yabbies are yummy. Crocodile is just like chicken.

The only way I have found dropbear palatable is in a very spicy and very slowly cooked chili. But I think we should keep eating the buggers just to show them that we are not as afraid of them as they think.

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