(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP calls on the Malaysian Government, Parliament and NGOs to express grave concern at the decision by a Nigerian state shariah court of appeals to uphold the sentence of death by stoning on a woman for giving birth to a child out of wedlock.
On Monday, the Islamic high court in the northern Nigerian town of Funtua, Katsina State, rejected an appeal by Amina Lawal, 31, against the stoning sentence for having sex outside of marriage. Lawal and her lawyer have been granted 30 days to appeal the decision.
The judgment is incompatible with the Nigerian constitution and also with Nigeria's legal obligations under international human rights law and the African Charter for Human and People Rights. The practice of stoning to death is a cruel form of torture prohibited by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture.
The Nigerian constitution guarantees the right to life and to freedom from torture and cruel inhuman and degrading punishments and the right to fair trial. Nigeria is also a state party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The ICCPR protects the right to life, and, in countries which have not
abolished the death penalty, assures that sentences of death may be imposed only
for the most serious crimes. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has
interpreted the ICCPR to be limited to "intentional crimes with lethal or
extremely grave consequences." The death penalty is "not to be imposed
for non-violent acts such as… sexual relations between consenting
adults." (Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2002/77, paragraph 4cc)
It has become an matter of increasing international concern that a woman could be sentenced to death by stoning in 2002, and the Malaysian government, Parliament and civil society should support the international concern – especially as Malaysia should seek to be an international model of a progressive interpretation of Islam which is compatible with democracy, pluralism, human rights, women’s right, individual freedoms, social tolerance, development and modernity.