Nigerian Woman Sentenced to Death by Stoning Changes Defense
Sufiyatu Huseini, the Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery, is now being helped by a local womenís rights group (financed by the Ford and MacArthur Foundations) who have hired lawyers to defend Huseini.
Her lawyers have changed her defense and claim that the child she bore is not that of her neighbor, who she claims raped her three times, but that of her former husband. The lawyers also state that Huseini did not understand the nature of the claims against her nor the questions she was being asked. They also contend that her original statements were made under pressure and in the absence of legal representation.
Huseini is accused of adultery and was sentenced in June 2001 in an Islamic court to death by stoning. She is currently appealing that decision and will appeal to the Nigerian Supreme Court should the lower court ruling stand.
Hussainiís original sentencing caused an international outcry that led to the central government threatening to overstep regional authorities that follow Islamic sharia law. Sharia was first established in Zamfara state, Nigeria in 2000 and has spread to at least twelve other Nigerian states, mostly in the predominately Islamic north, creating tensions between Christian and Islamic populations there. At least two riots have broken out over the threat of introducing sharia, resulting in the deaths of more than one thousand people.
Media Resources: New York Times Magazine, 1/27/02; New York Times, 12/3/01; and Feminist Majority Foundation
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8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
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