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International News Archive
January 14 -  January 20, 2001


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This page contains news for the period January 14, 2001 through January 20, 2001.



<<   January 2001  >>

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Friday, January 19, 2001

Nonmarital children in Nairobi not entitled to inherit father's estate

A story published today in The Nation reports that the children of former Provincial Commissioner Ishmael Chelang'a cannot inherit his estate if they were born outside marriage, a court heard yesterday.

A Kadhi told the High Court in Nairobi that all children born out of wedlock are considered illegitimate in Islamic religion and are not entitled to inherit their father's estate.

Chelang'a died in a plane crash in July, 1996.

Chelang'a's brother testified that the four children of the administrator were born between 1984 and 1992 but the couple officially got married in 1995.

Sheikh Salim Mohammed Salim told Justice Alex Etyang, who is hearing the succession dispute between Chelang'a's widow Zaina Mukami and her in-laws, that even if the marriage was later formalised, the children are still not entitled to the estate.

The Kadhi said the widow will inherit a third of the property as if she was childless - while the relatives will inherit the rest.


Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Nigeria postpones flogging of teen for unmarried sex

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that due to international pressure, an Islamic court has reduced and indefinitely postponed the flogging of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who says she was pressured by her father to have sex with three men, officials said Monday.

The girl, Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, was sentenced to 180 lashes with a cane in September by an Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara.

The story says that the court reduced the penalty to 100 lashes for breaking a law against premarital sex, dropping the 80 lashes that were imposed for making unsubstantiated allegations against the men, who denied having sex with her, court officials said.

The court also indefinitely postponed the sentence -- which had been scheduled for January 27, the first anniversary of the imposition of Islamic law, or sharia, in the region.   Officials said the judge wanted to give human rights groups time to appeal the sentence, despite the expiration of the normal two-week period allowed for legal challenges.

Lawyers for a local women's rights group, Baobab, are preparing an appeal, and another group, the Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations, is planning a mass protest Saturday in the commercial capital, Lagos.

The girl was charged after it was discovered that she was pregnant. According to the rights group Amnesty International, she had no representation at her trial, at which she said she was impregnated by one of the three middle-aged men. The sentence was initially delayed until she delivered a baby on Dec. 4.

The sentence has prompted an outcry from human rights groups, which fear the girl could die during the administering of the lashes. Judge Idris Usman Gusau has said her condition would be monitored throughout the flogging, which would be halted if she couldn't cope with the punishment all at once.

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