FA114 - 22 August 2002
Nigerian Death Sentence is Inhumane
I am deeply concerned by the decision of the Funtua Sharia Court
of Appeal in Katsina State in Nigeria on 19 August to uphold the sentence
of death by stoning of Amina Lawal, a thirty year-old mother of three,
for alleged adultery and bearing a child out of wedlock.
The Australian Government is universally and consistently opposed
to the use of capital punishment in any circumstances. The death
penalty is an inhumane form of punishment which violates the most
fundamental human right: the right to life. If this sentence were
to be carried out, it would be received with outrage in Australia
and in the wider international community.
I note that there are at least two more avenues of appeal open to
Ms Lawal, and that the Nigerian Minister of Justice has indicated
that the Federal Government of Nigeria will support Ms Lawalís appeal
against the Upper Sharia Court's decision. The Federal Government
of Nigeria has on several occasions expressed its opposition on constitutional
grounds to the re-introduction of Sharia law in 12 Nigerian provinces
since 1999. The Australian Government supports the Nigerian Government
in this stance to the extent that Sharia law can result in cruel and
inhuman forms of punishment such as death by stoning and flogging.
Australia consistently raises its opposition to the use of the death
penalty with countries employing capital punishment. Death by stoning
is a cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and is therefore
prohibited under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention
Against Torture, to all of which Nigeria is a party.
My Department and our High Commission in Lagos are monitoring developments
in the case very closely.
Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall
Sachs (Departmental) +61 02 6261 1555
Local Date: Friday, 24-May-2013 02:38:05 EST