In Nigeria, Wasilat Tasi'u, a 14-year-old child bride, has been accused of murdering her 35-year old husband, Umar Sani, by poisoning his food. Her father, Isyaku Tasi'u, is appealing to the courts to spare his daughter.
Despite her protests, Wasilat became the victim of a ritual that affects the lives of 15 million girls each year. Like so many others, she was forced to marry a man she neither wanted as a husband nor loved.
Two weeks after Wasilat's marriage vows, her husband, along with three others, died from the food she had laced with rat poison. This happened in April but the authorities became aware when witnesses told the High Court in Gezawa, a town 60 miles outside of the city of Kano, that she was responsible for her husband’s death.
The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. But this is causing some concern in regards to the merits of a murder case against an underage girl. Where do the rights of child brides stand under criminal law?
“We are appealing to the judge to consider Wasilat's plea,” her father told The Associated Press. He’s not the only one standing up for her. A women’s right activist named Zubeida Nagee and other activists have written a letter to the Kano state deputy governor.
Nagee believes this young girl is a victim of an abusive system. Until the case is opened in court again on Dec. 22, Wasilat remains in state juvenile custody.
Underage marriage is a problem in many countries, and it mostly affects the lives young girls from developing countries. To this day, their rights are repeatedly trampled on by their culture and patriarchy.
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