Niger :: Woman wins slavery case against Niger
ABDOULAYE MASSALATCHI | NIAMEY, NIGER - Oct 27 2008 13:53
A West African regional court of justice convicted the state of Niger on Monday for failing to protect a 12-year-old girl from being sold into slavery in a case anti-slavery campaigners hope will set a precedent.
The regional Ecowas Court of Justice ruled that Niger had failed in its obligations to protect Hadijatou Mani, who says she was sold into slavery in 1996 for around $500 and regularly beaten and sexually abused.
"I am very happy with this decision," Mani, now 24, told reporters at the court. Her comments, in the Hausa language spoken widely in Africa's Sahel region on the southern fringe of the Sahara, were translated by an interpreter.
Mani was at one point jailed for bigamy by Niger's court system when her former master opposed her marriage to another man, insisting she had automatically become his own wife when he set her free in 2005.
The case against the state was brought with the help of British-based anti-slavery organisations as a test case to press African governments to stamp out slavery, which campaigners say is rife in some African countries despite legal prohibitions.......read more