View Full Version : Amnesty Petition to oppose execution of Amina Lawal

2nd May 2003, 17:36
The Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence imposed on Amina Lawal for having a baby out of wedlock. [EDIT: See further posting below: The Court process may not yet be over.] The sentence imposed on her calls for her to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death.

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

The petition has so far amassed over 4,884,000 signatures. It will only take you a few seconds to sign Amnesty's online petition. Go to the web page www.amnistiaporsafiya.org, enter your first name in the space marked 'nombre', last name ('apellidos'), county/state ('provincia'), and country from the drop down box - choose Reino Unido (UK) or whatever applies. Then click on 'Seguir' and go to the second page. There you have the option of entering your email address if you wish to receive follow-up information. In any case, be sure to click on 'aceptar' to have your name added to the petition list.

Thanks for your time.

PS: Although I have strong personal opinions as to the negative aspects of certain types of Islamic observance, I am not posting this in order to provoke a debate on Sharia Law or Islam in general. Having said that, comments may at least keep this thread close to the top.

2nd May 2003, 22:10
More background amd a form letter (in English) to be sent by snail mail on this (http://web.amnesty.org/pages/nga-010902-action-eng) page.

3rd May 2003, 00:37

Before getting all fired up though, two things:-

1) Internet Petitions don't work:-

Petitions aren't the instruments of social change we'd so dearly love to believe they are. Yes, a petition festooned with a zillion signatures can have some influence, but only as a tangible proof of a subset of public opinion, and only upon those whose welfare is dependent upon public opinion (eg. politicians). Those signatures aren't votes, and they aren't treated as such by the governing bodies that have to decide on the tough questions of our times. At best, they're seen as an indication of the public's will, no more.
E-petitions, however, have one further shortcoming inherent to them that entirely undercut any value the same documents might have had in paper-and-ink form.
Paper-and-ink petitions are signed in a variety of handwriting styles, each unique to its signer. Consequently, signatures on a paper-and-ink petition cannot easily be faked else certain glaring similarities would show up in one entry after another.
E-petitions, however, come with no such assurance -- the same person could have generated all of the signatures. Moreover, it takes little by way of programming skills to create a sequence of code that will randomly generate fake names, e-mail addresses, and cities (or whatever combination of same the e-petition calls for). Once written, such a program can be executed with a keystroke, resulting in the effortless generation of thousands upon thousands of "signatures."
Those in a position to influence anything know this and thus accord e-petitions only slightly more respect than they would a blank sheet of paper. Thus, even the best written, properly addressed, and lovingly delivered e-petitions whose every signature was scrupulously vetted by the petition's creator fall into the same vortex of disbelief at the receiving end that less carefully shepherded missives find themselves relegated to.


2) Would sending letters to the Sharia appeals court in Katsina (the one which has already heard her appeal and rejected it) help? This is even more unlikely: Muslim fundamentalists deeply resent Western interference of any sort at any time, so telling them the world will be angry with them unless they reverse themselves isn't going to be the carrot that will inspire this particular donkey. They believe the teachings of the Koran and their interpretations and applications of them are entirely above matters of world opinion -- to them, they are answering to God, and nothing may be placed ahead of that.

3rd May 2003, 01:36
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke(attrib)
Just about sums it up, IMHO.

3rd May 2003, 19:18
But it is that countries belief and the teachings of the Koran that they're following. How can we, as Western outsiders, determine whether that is evil or not?
Perhaps as 'Christians' we can say that it is evil, but it obviously is not as determined by this particular religion, it is the word of God.

4th May 2003, 00:51
It's nothing to do with religion.

I'm not a Moslem, but my understanding is that there is nothing in the Koran that insists on this penalty for the "crime" of bearing a child outside wedlock. Perhaps any Moslem PPRuNErs could correct me if this is not the case?

Some things just aren't right, that's all.

4th May 2003, 05:30

What do you think matters the most - the so called beliefs of the said country or the "rights" of an / the individual? This sort of thing makes me totally sick. Who has the right to waive their Koran around and proclaim that its teachings are above the rest of us?

Caslance, well said.


4th May 2003, 15:19
I think what matters most is upholding the laws of the country in which you live!!! If you break those laws then expect to be punished.

FYI I am against execution for adultery but I am for upholding the law etc.

4th May 2003, 18:50
But Bidonu these are not the laws expressed in the Nigerian Penal Code.

That's what makes this type of case all the more compelling, to my mind at least.

4th May 2003, 22:11
BDiONU , so do you think that irrespective of the consequences (in this case for Amina Lawal), the first priority should be to uphold the "law of the land," whatever it happens to be? If thats true then I totally disagree.

Its not as though these laws were made through a democratic process where even where you may dislike certain aspects of such, one has to accept the overall "result," etc (because everyone can, in theory have their say). I guess, to be writing this I must have missed the point in respect of the matter. Then, on the other hand, how readily would anyone have accepted upholding the so called law (i.e, the importance of) in somewhere like Iraq, up until recently?

Some things just aren't right, that's all.

The above statement and sentiment behind it sums it all up, IMHO.


6th May 2003, 19:41
The UK Amnesty Site indicates that the Court has not yet concluded its determination of the case.


This is not a reason not to sign the Petition, but may indicate that there is still scope for the Court to give effect to Nigerian secular law over Sharia law

I agree that internet and other petitions may often fall on deaf ears, but think that doing something is preferable to doing nothing.

As for the sentence itself, I think that cultural and moral relativism can go too far. By way of analogy, the Nuremberg laws were laws made by the legally constituted authority of Nazi Germany. This does not mean that we should simply say "that is their way of doing things and we cannot intervene".