The NGO Joint  Memorandum
submitted to the Nigerian High Commissioner His Excellency Ibrahim Yarima Abdullahi
on September 3, 2002
at the Nigerian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur


Your Excellency,

Ref:  Death sentence by stoning against Nigerian woman and couple

We, the undersigned, wish to express our grave concern at two recent cases of death sentence by stoning involving a Nigerian woman and couple, which are in violation of human rights, women’s rights and individual freedom.

In the first incident, the Islamic high court in the northern Nigerian town of Funtua, Katsina State upheld on August 19, 2002 the stoning sentence imposed on Amina Lawal, 31, a single mother, for having sex outside of marriage.

In the space of a week, on August 26, 2002, another Islamic court in the central town of New Gawu sentenced a couple, Ahmadu Ibrahim and Fatima Usman, both 30, to death by stoning for having an affair.

The court judgments are incompatible with established international norms of human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture (both of which Nigeria is a state party) prohibits the practice of stoning to death, which is considered as a cruel form of torture.

The decisions are also contrary to the Nigerian constitution as well as Nigeria’s legal obligations under international human rights law and the African Charter for Human and People Rights. Under the Nigerian constitution, right to life, freedom from torture and cruel inhuman and degrading punishments and the right to fair trial are guaranteed.

Due to stoning being a particularly inhumane form of execution that prolongs the agony of the condemned person, many human rights groups, both local and international, have strongly objected to any cases of stoning.

Moreover, many women's rights activists consider stoning as a harsh and degrading punishment that particularly singles out women. Not only does stoning require burying a woman deeper than a man (a practice proponents say is to protect the woman's bosom), it is also used against women more often than against men.

The fact that execution by stoning to death is still being practised in a 21st century modern society is clearly a matter of serious concern, both to Malaysians as well as the international community.

We hereby urge the Nigerian government to intervene in the plight of the three Nigerians, Ibrahim, Usman and Lawal to rescue them from such a horrific fate as stoning in line with its international and human rights obligations.

Endorsed by,


  • Democratic Action Party (DAP)

  • Amnesty International in Malaysia (AI)

  • All Women’s Action Movement (AWAM)

  • Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

  • The International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

  • Indigenous Peoples Development Centre (IPDC)

  • Ideal

  • Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

  • Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

  • Sisters in Islam (SIS)

  • Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)