AP, Sep. 10, 2002
Rome conferred honorary citizenship yesterday on a Nigerian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning by an Islamic court but acquitted on appeal after an international outcry.
Safiya Hussaini, carrying her infant daughter, received the honour from the mayor, Walter Veltroni. “I am grateful and thankful,” she told a press conference.
Italy was at the forefront of the international appeal to save the life of Ms Hussaini, who was convicted last year of conceiving a child with a married neighbour. An appeal court acquitted her in March after ruling that her confession was inadmissible because the authorities had not adequately informed her about the crime’s seriousness.
Mr Veltroni said: “We hope that this honorary citizenship which we are symbolically giving to Safiya could influence the whole world to put an end to death penalty and that there be respect for the rights of women, taking into account of course, different cultures and religions.”
Another Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, is due to die by stoning for adultery in 2004, when she finishes weaning her baby. AP, Rome