An Islamic appeals court overturned Amina Lawal's sentence of death by stoning for adultery. According to the Associated Press, the five-judge panel dismissed the sentence against Lawal because she was not caught in the act of adultery and was not given "ample opportunity to defend herself."
The Northern Nigerian Islamic Court sentenced Lawal, a single mother, to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock on March 22, 2002. Lawal's case drew huge international outcry from women's rights and human rights groups, Western governments, the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and other world leaders.
Lawal was the second Nigerian woman condemned to death by stoning for engaging in sex before marriage. The first woman, Safiya Hussaini, had her sentence overturned in March 2002 on her first appeal. Sharia law was established in northern Nigeria's mostly Muslim state Zamfara in 2000 and has spread to at least twelve other states since then. Under sharia law, pregnancy outside of marriages constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .