A court in Bauchi State, Nigeria, has sentenced three men to death for engaging in homosexual acts, contrary to Sharia law. The men, Abdullahi Abubakar Beti (30), Kamilu Ya’u (20) and Malam Haruna (70), were arrested by the Hisbah Vanguard – an organisation which strictly enforces the moral code of Sharia – on 14 June.
Sharia law, based on a strict interpretation of the Qur’an, operates only in those areas of northern Nigeria with a majority-Muslim population, and although Nigeria claims that its own civil law has supremacy, in practice the state seldom intervenes in the Sharia courts.
The case was heard by Sharia judge Munka’ilu Sabo Ningi shortly after the men were arrested and, after listening to arguments from the prosecution, adjourned sentencing. The court reconvened last Wednesday (29 June) when, after listing to witness statements, sentenced the trio to death by stoning.
A 2016 report published by the Oxford Department of International Development, part of the University of Oxford, says: “The new systems of lower Sharia Courts put in place in 1999-2001 are reasonably sound and are working to the general satisfaction of the people they serve.
“The eleven sharia states display a healthy diversity in the details of the arrangements they have made to suit their varying populations. The people managing the Sharia Courts are serious, knowledgeable, hard-working public officials.”
Anyone in the UK wishing to make representations to the Nigerian government can contact High Commissioner Sarafa Tunji Isola on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.