A man who plead guilty to committing rape in Nigeria recently had his death by stoning set aside after his lawyers plead insanity.
Salimu Mohammed Baranda admitted that he committed the rape of a nine year old girl and apparently refused to defend himself against the charges. According to the BBC, though, family members convinced him to appeal the death sentence and his lawyers claimed that he was insane at the time he committed the crime.
An Islamic court of appeal in Nigeria overturned the conviction and ordered the man committed to an asylum for evaluation.
The BBC story on the overturning of the sentence noted that human rights groups had not exactly jumped all over Salimu’s sentence,
Salimu’s case was a particularly important one for those opposed to such strict Islamic punishments on moral grounds.
In all other cases of stoning punishments being handed down by the Sharia court it has been for those, almost all of them women, who had committed the consensual act of adultery.
Defending a rapist — and worse, one that had admitted his crime — was not something most human rights groups have gone out of their way to do.
But it is the system of justice that is being used here that is the problem. Stoning someone to death for rape is just as barbaric as stoning someone to death for having consensual sex. Both outcomes are the product of a corrupted vision of justice.
Nigeria stoning verdict quashed. Dan Isaacs, August 19, 2003.
Nigeria stoning verdict quashed. United Press International, August 19, 2003.
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