Saturday, July 9, 2005Philip Alston, an official with the United Nations is decrying a Nigerian court decision to sentence a 50-year-old man to death by stoning after he admitted to having sex with another man. Reports have not named the individual.
The incident in question happened after the 50-year-old man was acquitted of charges that he had sexual relations with a much younger man. During further questioning, the judge asked the accused if he ever had sex with any other men.
Upon answering yes, the judge convicted the man of sodomy and sentenced him to death by stoning.
Nigeria, the most populous African country, is one of many countries that has started to adopt Sharia, or traditional Islamic law as detailed in the Koran. Since 2000, 12 of Nigeria’s northernmost states have adopted Sharia codes for their courtrooms. Under Islamic law, homosexual conduct is a crime punishable by death.
“Sodomy cannot be considered one of the most serious crimes for which, under international law, the death penalty can be prescribed. The punishment is wholly disproportionate,” Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, said in a written statement Friday.
Nigeria’s southern states are mostly Christian and do not follow Sharia law.