Commissioner of Police v. Abubakar Yakubu Tungar Tudu and Safiyatu Hussaini Tungar Tudu: Zinā Trial

Two accused persons, both previously married to other persons, were charged with the crime of committing zinā (fornication), which is prohibited in the Islamic Penal Code of Sokoto State, Nigeria. The man denied the charge and declared his innocence in court. The woman admitted to having sexual intercourse with the accused man and to being pregnant as a result. The Court held that the crime of zinā (fornication) is proved by a valid confession, the evidence of four witnesses, or by pregnancy outside of marriage. Because the first accused person denied that he had made an earlier confession, a confession could only be verified by the testimony of four witnesses. Because only two witnesses had given such testimony, the confession was not valid. The Court also held that retraction of a confession is permissible. Therefore, even if the first accused, the man, had earlier confessed, his denial of the charge in court amounted to a valid retraction of the confession. The Court convicted the second accused person, the woman, on the basis of her in-court confession and sentenced her to death by stoning after childbirth and weaning. The woman successfully appealed her conviction.

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