Amina Lawal v. The State: Appeal of Zinā Conviction (2nd appeal)

Amina Lawal appealed the decision of the Upper Sharīʿa Court, Funtua, upholding her conviction of the capital crime of zinā (fornication) by the Sharīʿa Court of Bakori. As she had done in the appeals court, the Appellant retracted the confession made before the trial court. The Court held that a single confession is not a sufficient ground for a zinā conviction. Therefore, it determined that the Appellant's confession before the trial court was not a sufficient basis for conviction. Further, it determined that retraction of a confession for an offense that impinged on the “rights of God” [ḥuqūq Allāh] (such as zinā or alcohol consumption) is permissible and valid even after judgment, if made before the execution of a sentence. The Court also held that a child born by an unmarried woman within seven years of a former marriage is affiliated with the former husband [following the paternity canon in Islamic law], and under such circumstances, childbirth does not constitute proof of zinā. The Court allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction.

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