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Nigeria: 17 year old punished for sex before marriage
Flogged rape victims


Nairobi / Abuja - A 17-year-old girl who became pregnant through rape was punished with 180 lashes in northern Nigeria.

A government spokesman has now confirmed that the sentence under Islamic law, the Sharia, has already been carried out in the state of Zamfara. The flogging was actually set for two weeks after the delivery, but because of the unrest caused by public protests, it was brought forward eight days.

Bariya Ibrahim Magazu was raped by three farmers in her neighborhood last year. When her pregnancy could no longer be hidden, a police officer reported her. The alleged rapists denied the crime in court in Zamfara. Her 17-year-old victim was sentenced to 100 lashes because premarital sex is forbidden according to Sharia. 80 more lashes were aimed at her alleged slander. The court suspended the sentence until two weeks after the delivery.

Survived punishment with bruises
Numerous human rights organizations protested the sentence, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 27th. The defendant had also appealed the verdict in the meantime. "The governor of Zamfara wanted to put an end to the international wave of protests and anticipate it by bringing forward the flogging," said government spokesman Sanda. The young woman survived the sentence with a few bruises and was even able to walk on her own afterwards, officials from the province appeased.

Eight provinces are under Islamic law
The execution, against which the UN children's aid organization Unicef ​​protested on Wednesday, is fueling great fears within the Christian minority in the north of the country. Zamfara was the first of eight Nigerian federal states in the Muslim-dominated north of the state that introduced Sharia last January. Contrary to the announcement at the time by Zamfara's governor Sani Ahmed that Christians had nothing to fear from the Sharia and would only misunderstand it, the Islamic legal system has significantly changed everyday life in the eight provinces.

Common Sharia punishments: lashes and amputations
Lashes or amputations have been common punishments ever since. The prostitutes have disappeared from the cityscape, alcohol is difficult to acquire. Boys and girls attend separate schools. Since then, women have had to veil themselves. You are only allowed to sit in the back rows of public buses or drive with specially set up women's buses or taxis. Two motorcycle taxi drivers were recently sentenced to lashes for illegally transporting women.

Religious dividing line through central Nigeria
Nigeria, whose president Olusegun Obasanjo is a devout Christian, has been increasingly divided by the religious dividing line in the middle of the country since the introduction of a civil government in 1999. The conflict over the introduction of Sharia cost hundreds of lives in the past year.

17-year-old Bariya is going to marry a rapist

Zamfara is one of the poorest but also most rigid provinces in the country. Cases like that of 17-year-old Bariya will not remain in isolation there. The adolescent was forced to make a virtue out of her need: one of her rapists apparently proposed marriage to her. She said yes.

Antje Passenheim, dpa