News24

Sudan: Woman sentenced to stoning death

2012-06-01 09:07

Khartoum - A Sudanese woman, believed to be about 20, has been sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery, and is being held near Khartoum, shackled in prison with her baby son, rights groups and lawyers said on Thursday.

Campaigners condemned the ruling, saying it violated international standards and raised concerns that Sudan might start applying sharia, or Islamic law, more strictly following the secession of mostly non-Muslim South Sudan last year.

The woman, Intisar Sharif Abdalla, was sentenced by the Ombada criminal court on 22 April, court documents seen by Reuters showed.

Two lawyers assigned to her case, who declined to be named, said they were launching an appeal adding Abdalla appeared to be under severe psychological strain.

"She's in dire need of a psychiatrist because she appears to be in a state of shock from the social and family pressures she's under," one lawyer said.

Abdalla was illiterate and did not have a lawyer or interpreter in the courtroom, although Arabic is not her native language, the lawyers and activists added.

Arabic is the main language in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation, though a wide range of smaller languages are also spoken, particularly in tribal areas. It was unclear where Abdalla came from.

Officials in Sudan's justice and information ministries said they could not immediately comment on the case when Reuters contacted them by phone.

Abdalla's exact age has not been confirmed, but activists said she was believed to be about 20, although some reports indicated she could be younger.

"The case certainly raises concerns about how judges are interpreting and applying the laws of Sudan," Jehanne Henry, a senior research at advocacy group Human Rights Watch, said.

Islamic law

Floggings are a common punishment in Sudan for crimes like drinking alcohol and adultery. But sentences of stoning are rare.

Following a 1989 coup, Sudan introduced laws that took sharia as their main source and hosted militants including Osama bin Laden.

While the government has since sought to improve its image internationally by distancing itself from radical Islamists, it is still one of only a few countries to list death by stoning in its statutes.

In 2010, Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said the country would adopt a fully Islamic constitution following the secession of the south, agreed under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

Most people in South Sudan are Christian or follow traditional African beliefs.

The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), a network of civil society groups, said Abdalla was still in danger despite the appeal.

"Although this appeal is in process, Intisar ostensibly remains at risk of being stoned and in real terms, her life is still very much on the line," it said in a statement.

In 2010, the case of Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese UN official, sparked international furore when she was sentenced to flogging for wearing trousers.

Fahima Hashim, a women's rights activist following Abdalla's case, said sentences were often inconsistent in Sudan because the legal system gave authority to judges to decide punishments. Previous stoning sentences had not been carried out, she said.

Hashim called for the reform of articles in Sudan's criminal code which she said harm women's rights, including one used in Abdalla's case.

As long as this articles remained unchanged, execution by stoning would not be out of the question, she said. "It's a threat. It could happen."

Comments
  • Sharon - 2012-06-01 09:16

    Barbaric, I hope international community puts pressure on them to stop this madness.

  • nikondaniel - 2012-06-01 09:32

    We live in a sick world...

  • NoNonsense - 2012-06-01 09:50

    I Love South Africa!

  • Bradley - 2012-06-01 09:51

    Backwards countries like this need civil wars and a constitution that gives rights and freedom to each individual...if you ask me SA needs people to be stoned to death not an innocent 20 year old girl...

  • Liesbet - 2012-06-01 10:16

    Double standards!!! Where is the father of the baby? Or did she conceive on her own??? Barbaric! And I am sure most Muslim people would agree.... totally unacceptable!

  • neil.lennon.3 - 2012-06-01 10:32

    Not one thing about the male in the adultery indecent ? He's probably gotten off with a slap on the wrist! How can the modern world let countries get away with stoning people to death, especially for something that's not even a real crime - damn backwards, biblical people !!

  • Fidel - 2012-06-01 11:28

    Barbaric indeed. Hanging and execution of human beings is also frowned upon by some cultures! WHO is the arbiter of what is moral/human and not?

  • patrick.ikechukwu.54 - 2012-06-01 11:33

    No one should ever and ever stone any body to death. Wen dat woman commited adultery in d bible and she was about to be stoned jesus christ rebuked dat. So if God could put quiet to dat who is therefor pamited to do dat? D woman should be restored and made neva to go bck. As am making dis coment am sure dat God has 4giving her bcus she would hv realised her mistake.

  • brander.mba - 2012-06-01 12:43

    This is really sad "A Sudanese woman, believed to be about 20, has been sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery" So where is the man cause clearly she had to have someone comitting the act with. This is really not fair.

  • nomzamo.kongola - 2012-06-01 14:09

    Wow...as if living in sudan is nt hard wit their wars n starvation...they are even stoning ppl a young gal to the exact...i respect islam bt if adultry is so bad n worthy of such a death then surely islamic law should prohibit polygamy...its hard to b a woman wat a violatn of hr human rights whr is the man or is adultry and being stoned only applicable to women and men jst get off scotfree?

  • nomzamo.kongola - 2012-06-01 14:09

    Wow...as if living in sudan is nt hard wit their wars n starvation...they are even stoning ppl a young gal to the exact...i respect islam bt if adultry is so bad n worthy of such a death then surely islamic law should prohibit polygamy...its hard to b a woman wat a violatn of hr human rights whr is the man or is adultry and being stoned only applicable to women and men jst get off scotfree?

      morris.maruta - 2012-06-01 19:06

      the sudanese gvt must honor females and stop taking women in sudan like useless creatures its a sin b4 god, this woman in question must be protect from the unjustice laws of sudan. Human life is a precious gift from god, so the international community must do something 2 help this women.human right should nt be take for granted by the sudanese gvt.

      morris.maruta - 2012-06-01 19:07

      the sudanese gvt must honor females and stop taking women in sudan like useless creatures its a sin b4 god, this woman in question must be protect from the unjustice laws of sudan. Human life is a precious gift from god, so the international community must do something 2 help this women.human right should nt be take for granted by the sudanese gvt.

  • nomzamo.kongola - 2012-06-01 14:09

    Wow...as if living in sudan is nt hard wit their wars n starvation...they are even stoning ppl a young gal to the exact...i respect islam bt if adultry is so bad n worthy of such a death then surely islamic law should prohibit polygamy...its hard to b a woman wat a violatn of hr human rights whr is the man or is adultry and being stoned only applicable to women and men jst get off scotfree?

  • monica.strotmann - 2012-06-01 15:01

    Barbaric, I hope international community puts pressure on them to stop this madness.

  • Stanley - 2012-06-01 17:10

    De 1 who doesn't hav Sin must b de fist 1 to stone her,what about de man she caught with? Sudanes government is pathetic.

  • Hermann - 2012-06-02 07:29

    Sharia barbarism, the intolerant religion.

  • Pride Monakhisi - 2012-06-02 08:10

    how sad! I love SA! Even though things aren't perfect lets be grateful

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