Historic verdict as Niger is convicted of failing to protect woman sold into slavery

Abdoulaye Massalatchi in Niamey – The Independent (UK) – Tues, 28 Oct, 2008

No woman should suffer the way I did

Hadijatou Mani said: 'No woman should suffer the way I did'

The West African regional Court of Justice has convicted the state of Niger of failing to protect a 12-year-old girl from being sold into slavery, in what has been hailed as a victory for human rights.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice said Niger had failed in its obligations to Hadijatou Mani, who was sold into slavery as a child in 1996 for about £300 and regularly beaten and sexually abused.

“I am very happy with this decision,” said Ms Mani, now 24. She spoke via an interpreter in the Hausa language spoken widely in Niger, in the Sahel region on the southern fringe of the Sahara. Ms Mani was once jailed for bigamy by a Niger court when her former master opposed her marriage to another man, insisting she had automatically become his own wife when he freed her in 2005. . .

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