Amnesty International is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and urges the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the death by stoning sentence against Ms Hussaini is not carried out. Amnesty International has on several previous occasions asked the Nigerian authorities not to introduce punishments which amount to ill-treatment and torture under new laws based on Sharia.

Amnesty International UK's Merton group yesterday delivered a 1,465-signature petition to the Nigerian High Commission in London calling on the Nigerian authorities to commute the sentence. The group's website (http:\\ has also raised awareness of this matter throughout the world, with an 'e-petition' being signed by hundreds of supporters from countries as diverse as Japan, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Jamaica, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

'We had an excellent response and gathered about 800 signatures in two days,' said John Sotiropoulos of the Merton group. 'Even if Safiya wins her appeal, the punishment remains on the books in several Nigerian states, and it is only a matter of time before a similar case comes before the courts.'

An Amnesty International school group last week also delivered a similar petition to the Nigerian High Commission. The students, from Oundle School in Peterborough, handed in a petition containing over 1,000 signatures.

Amnesty International continues to monitor the repercussions on human rights of the implementation of Sharia-based penal codes in several states of northern Nigeria. The organisation currently has a delegation in Nigeria and, together with other Nigerian human rights and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's rights groups, is assessing the situation closely.

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