The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has ordered the stay of execution of a judgment of a Katsina High Court which sentenced Maimuna Abdulmumini to death in 2012 for murder, a crime she allegedly committed when she was 13 years old.
While ruling on an application brought by Avocats Sans Frontieres France (ASF) France (Lawyers Without Border), Justice Hansine Donli said the application to stop the execution of the judgment had merit.
In delivering the ruling on the stay of execution and granting accelerated hearing of the application brought before the ECOWAS court by ASF France, Justice Donli stated that the applicant showed sufficient evidence in its motion and supporting documents to justify the grant of the application.
She said the application for stay of execution was granted in order to protect the â€˜resâ€™ (Maimuna) from any action of the defendants, which might render the proceedings nugatory.
In addition, the particular urgency of the case prompted the court to order for an accelerated hearing of the matter in accordance with the rules of the court.
The court alluded to the practice where convicts on death row were executed while their appeal was still pending before the national court, an act that violates the principles of fair hearing.
In line with this, it was determined that the need for urgency and serious issues in the substantive matter justified the grant for an accelerated hearing.
Justice Donli ruled that â€œthe application succeeds and orders are hereby made for expediency proceedings and the restraining order against the defendants from executing the death sentence passed on the applicant pending the application for violation of human rights.â€
Responding to the ruling, the legal manager of the Saving Lives Project, Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi, said: â€œThis is an encouraging decision for ASF Franceâ€™s litigation team.
Maimuna Abdulmuminiâ€™s case raises critical fundamental human rights issues such as the imposition of the death sentence on offenders below the age of 18. If successful, pursuing such a case can hopefully have an impact on the situation of numerous detainees in Nigeria and other countries.â€