Nigeria girl faces murder trial over forced marriage

Gezawa - A 14-year-old girl accused of poisoning the 35-year-old man she was forced to marry was set to go on trial for murder in northern Nigeria on Monday, a case that has thrown the spotlight on the influence of Islamic law in region.

Wasila Tasi'u has also been charged with the murder of three others who allegedly ate the food laced with rat poison that she prepared and served in April this year, a week after her marriage to Umaru Sani.

Police say Tasi'u confessed to poisoning Sani and his guests at the wedding party in the village of Unguwar Yansoro village, about 60km outside Nigeria's second city of Kano.

"She did it because she was forced by her parents to marry a man she did not love," Kano state police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia told AFP.

Her lawyer Hussaina Aliyu rejects claims that her client made a legally valid confession.

She said Tasi'u was questioned by police without a parent or lawyer present and so any comments she may have made are inadmissible in court.

Aliyu, who works with International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has sought to have the case transferred to a juvenile court, a bid rejected by justice officials in Kano.

"All we are saying is do justice to her. Treat the case as it is. Treat her as a child," Aliyu said.

The marriage of teenage girls to much older men is rampant in deeply conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria, especially in poorer rural areas.

The region has since 2000 been under sharia Islamic law which some say does not prohibit the marriage of underage girls.

But Nigeria's federal, secular laws also apply in the north, creating a confusing hybrid legal system where sharia police try to work with government authorities to enforce criminal justice.

The issue of child marriage has been fiercely debated in Nigeria over the past year, sparked by a proposal from a northern lawmaker that any girl, regardless of her age, should be legally considered an adult once she is married.

That measure has not become law but the proposal was intensely criticised, including by activists in the mainly Christian south who say Nigeria should not permit any application of sharia, even in the north.

For Aliyu, the defence lawyer, this case is not a referendum on youth marriage in a Muslim society.

Rather, she argued, the primary issue is that criminal charges filed against a minor should be handled by a juvenile court.

"She is still a child," the lawyer said.

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Nobby Poltice 2014/08/04 02:48:15 PM
Poor little girl. Islam really is a stain on humanity: a pestilence, an atrocity against women and a danger for mankind.
David Van Schalkwyk 2014/08/04 02:52:38 PM
"so any comments she may have made are inadmissible in court." If it was up to the Islamic community she would not even make it to court and they would stone her in the street like a rabid dog...
Binte Maya 2014/08/04 02:56:25 PM
Its sad how you can force someone into marriage.. without them being happy about it!!
Web Perfect 2014/08/04 02:57:07 PM
This girl does not deserve to be charged for murder. She was abused. Any person who is forced to marry another, especially a child, but no matter what the age of the person, is being abused and that she took action against her abuser is fully understandable, and, as far as I am concerned, acceptable. Her parents need to charged for child abuse as well. Forced marriage has no place in society and any faith or religion that part takes in such vial actions is, in my mind, sick and not worthy of being called a religion. Wasila Tasi'u is a hero in my eyes and deserves a huge amount of credit for fighting this sickness of forced marriages. I hope and pray that more people like Wasila will stand up and take action against these bazaar and satanistic beliefs and rituals. There is so much of this barbaric behaviour, especially in certain parts of the world and often perpetrated by people using their religion as a smoke screen. Wasila's young life was stolen by backward barbaric beliefs, and all she did was hit back at those who abused her. Pity her parents did not partake in the meal as well. Wasila, you are a hero!!
Binte Maya 2014/08/04 03:14:18 PM
Not everywhere kobus...!! I agree with nooreen 100%!
Enig Ma 2014/08/04 03:17:31 PM
Stoneage Desert Cult, nothing more. Shariah is sexist, racist, anti free speech. My heart is gladdened by the return of Meriam Ibrahim Tehya Ishag, South Sudanese lady to Philadelphia , USA,. According to Al Jazeera, she made headlines in May 2014 when a Sudanese court sentenced her to death for abandoning the Islamic faith to become a Christian, an act known ad apostasy. These Islamic "angels" everyone feels should be afforded freedom of religion in the Western World, and who lobby for "their own" neighbourhoods in which to practice Shariah Law in Amsterdam, London, New York etc, had her chained to a floor in chained and shackled to a floor in a barbaric prison while she gave birth to her baby girl. And I reckoned the Israelis were a barbarous clan. Welcome back to the West Meriam, you just got into a time machine, bringing you forward in team 1400 year!
Nooreen Khan 2014/08/04 03:29:48 PM
Kobus I am a muslim and a proud one... And i was not once beaten y anyone nor was I forced into anything... I agree with you one hundred percent that some muslims have no respect for women they treat them as slaves and degrade them yes but what I am trying to say is that this is not Islam!!! In Islam, in the Quran it is stated that women must receive the utmost respect!!! you have the right to education you have the right to make your own choices and decisions and no one should be forced into doing anything
Nkalanga Muzi 2014/08/04 03:37:59 PM
Gud job Wasila may dis be a wake up call for others who r planning to marry children and as for the other three guys, ahh wt can say collateral damage lol
Nooreen Khan 2014/08/04 03:44:17 PM
yes i agree i am very fortunate to live and practice my religion in this country... you say that Muslims beat and treat their woman badly correct... so than should we say that every man who beats, murders and rapes women should be classed according to religion?? this is not religious these are sick people who use religion to justify their crimes... and as for Ghoulza I am third year university student and I work in the corporate environment I am not stupid or uneducated as you think all Muslim women should be
SunshinyDay 2014/08/04 03:53:00 PM
Where has that "I am not Oppressed" article disappeared to now? Have they removed it from their homepage in light of this article about a clearly oppressed young girl?