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14-Year-Old Girl Forced Into Marriage Accused Of Killing Husband With Rat Poison

The young girl could face the death penalty if found guilty.

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Wasila Tasi'u, a 14-year-old girl from Unguwar Yansoro, a village in northern Nigeria, has been accused of murdering her 35-year-old husband of two weeks with rat poison.

Tasi'u is alleged to have laced food she prepared for a post-marriage celebration on 5 April with poison, killing Umar Sani – the farmer she was married to – and three others.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the teenager, who sobbed in Gezawa High Court in northern Nigeria as the judge, Mohammed Yahaya, entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

The defence's application to have the case transferred to a juvenile court was rejected by the judge.

Her father, Isyaku Tasi'u, told the Associated Press that he was appealing to a Nigerian court "to consider his daughter's plea".

Human rights activists are outraged by the case. According to the charity Girls Not Brides, 39% of girls in Nigeria are married off before their 18th birthday.

girlsnotbrides.org

Zubeida Nagee, a women's rights activist, told the Associated Press that Tasi'u was married to the man against her will and that she was a victim of systematic abuse.

"She was married to a man that she didn't love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him," she said.

Wasila Tasi'u is being held in state juvenile custody. The case has been adjourned until 22 December.

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

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