A 14-year-old Nigerian girl accused of murdering her 35-year-old husband by putting rat poison in his food could face the death penalty, AFP reports.
The trial of Wasila Tasi'u, from a poor northern Nigeria family, has sparked a heated debate on the role of underage marriage in the conservative Muslim region, especially whether an adolescent girl can consent to be a bride.
Prosecutors at the High Court in Gezawa, outside Nigeria's second city of Kano, filed an amended complaint that charged Tasi'u with one count of murder over the killing of Umar Sani two weeks after their April wedding in the village of Unguwar Yansoro.
Lead prosecutor Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki said that if convicted, the charge is "punishable with death" and indicated the state would seek the maximum penalty.
Tasi'u entered the court wearing a cream-coloured hijab and was escorted by two policemen.
Her parents, who have condemned their daughter's alleged act, were in the public gallery -- the first time the three were in the same room since Tasi'u's arrest in April, her legal representatives said.
The English-language charge sheet was translated into Hausa for the accused by the court clerk.
Tasi'u refused to answer when asked if she understood the charges.
The case was adjourned for 30 minutes so the charges could be better explained to the defendant, but when the alleged offences were read again Tasi'u stayed silent, turned her head to the wall and broke down in tears.
"The court records (that) she pleads not guilty," Judge Mohammed Yahaya said, apparently regarding her silence as equal to a denial of the charges and adjourned the case until November 26.
Death sentence for that poor girl Is nothing but injustice. I wish her luck.