Mali couple given 100 lashes each for bearing child out of wedlock

Bamako – The Islamists occupying northern Mali on Wednesday gave a couple 100 lashes of a whip for having a child out of wedlock as they continue enforcing shari’ah law, witnesses told AFP.

“At Sankore Square in Timbuktu, a man and a women got 100 lashes for having had a child outside of marriage,” said local official Mohamed Ould Baby.

“People were watching it was like a show. I was there, I saw the youths arriving at the square, I saw them being whipped, it is the first time I have seen something like that.”

The official said Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) carried out the punishment.

Ansar Dine, which seized control of the north of Mali flanked by other rebel groups, has been implementing strict Islamic law, shari’ah, since late March, but this is the first time a couple has been punished in this fashion.

They have asked women to wear veils, whipped smokers and destroyed cartons of cigarettes while banning the sale of alcohol.

According to shari’ah, 100 lashes of a whip is the punishment for “fornicators” or those who have sex outside of marriage.

A hospital source in Timbuktu said the couple had sought treatment at the hospital after the beating.

An Islamic police official in the town said six other women who had had children outside of marriage would soon be “punished by Islamic law”.

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