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Written Answers. - Human Rights Abuses.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 98. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if he will make a statement on the outcome of his representations to the Nigerian authorities regarding the case of a person (details supplied) who is reported to have been sentenced to death by stoning. [10465/02]

 120. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  the position on the situation in Nigeria; the degree to which he has or proposes to influence the situation there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10626/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 120 together.

With regard to the case of the woman sentenced to death by stoning, Deputies will be aware that on Monday, 25 March, the Sharia court of appeal in the state of Sokoto overturned the conviction for adultery. I welcome the decision of the court of appeal to overturn the conviction. I am particularly pleased that the decision was taken at state level. This removed the need for an appeal to the federal court which would have prolonged the suffering of the woman in question.

Throughout the legal process we made our views known to the Nigerian authorities. I remain concerned at the inhumane nature of the sentence originally imposed and the existence of such laws in Nigeria. In this regard I am aware of reports of the imposition of the death penalty in a similar case and I have asked my officials to obtain further details with a view to taking up the issue. Together with my European Union colleagues, we also urge the Nigerian Government to work towards the immediate abolition of the death penalty.


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