She would have been buried to the neck and then stoned

Amina Lawal, the Nigerian peasant woman sentenced under Islamic law to death by stoning for having had sex outside marriage, was acquitted and set free this week. One aspect of her legal defense is worth noting. As reported in The New York Times: “The court also gave a nod to what defense attorneys had called the ‘sleeping embryo’ theory: Under some interpretations of Shariah, an embryo can be in gestation for up to five years, meaning that Ms. Lawal’s baby could have been fathered by her former husband.” [Shariah is the body of religious law governing the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.]