The case against Nigerian woman Safiya Hussaini Tungar Dudu, accused of adultery under newly implemented Islamic law, was overturned on Monday on procedural grounds, releasing her from a sentence of being buried up to the waist and stoned to death. At least ten Nigerian states have adopted Islamic sharia law codes that have put strict restrictions on women. Many women’s rights and human rights organizations, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, decried the sentence. More than 3300 email messages were sent to Nigerian officials by feminists via the Feminist.org Take Action Center.
Dudu’s sentence is part of an alarming trend in Nigeria. In January 2001, seventeen-year-old Bariya Ibrahim Magazu of Zamfara, Nigeria was sentenced to 180 lashes for having premarital sex and making false accusations against men in her village; her sentence was later reduced to 100 lashes. And in August, a 20-year-old Zamfara woman was sentenced to a public flogging of 100 lashes with a cane after admitting to an extramarital affair. Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal called this latest sharia sentencing, “a symptom of Talibanization and an example of the spread of fundamentalist extremism.”