LAGOS, Nigeria — A Muslim appeals court acquitted a Nigerian woman Monday who had been sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. The case had prompted protests at home and abroad and raised fears of religious unrest in the West African nation.
Tambari Usman, one of four judges on the panel hearing the appeal in the northern city of Sokoto, said the evidence presented was insufficient to warrant a conviction.
"Thank you, thank you," Safiya Hussaini murmured as well-wishers translated the ruling from Arabic into her native Hausa language.
The 35-year-old mother of five was the first of at least two women sentenced to death by stoning since a dozen Nigerian states began implementing Sharia, or Islamic law, two years ago.
Amina Lawal Kurami was condemned to the same fate Friday in Katsina state, just days after President Olusegun Obasanjo's government declared unconstitutional the harshest of Sharia punishments, such as beheadings, stonings and amputations. She has 30 days to appeal.