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Sudanese Woman Convicted Of Adultery Could Be Stoned To Death If Government Doesn’t Intervene

 

The lack of government ministers in Sudan is impeding efforts to save a 20-year-old woman from being stoned to death after being found guilty of adultery, according to the BBC. The civilian government of the Northeast African country was deposed by a military junta in an October 2021 coup.

Following the woman’s conviction, campaigners have called for her release, claiming that her trial was unfair. Even though a government official called the trial a “joke,” he added that they “don’t have a minister who can intervene to demand her release” at the moment.

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After her divorce from her husband in 2020, the woman moved in with her family. However, after her husband accused her of adultery a year before, a court in the city of Kosti convicted her of the crime in June 2022. Her conviction has since been overturned on appeal. However, the court has yet to rule. Her lawyer, Intisar Abdala, expressed optimism that the appeal would be successful.

“The young woman is in good physical condition, but she is understandably anxious.” “There’s not much else I can say as a woman lawyer living in a conservative region like Kosti and working to help other women,” Abdala said.

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“We are awaiting a judgement from the court of appeal but nobody can tell when that will come. Waiting is our only option.”

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Sulaima Ishaq, the head of the Ministry of Social Development’s Violence Against Women Unit, told the BBC that she had informed officials in Khartoum about the case. And, despite her claims that the convicted woman’s trial was unfair, she claimed that the absence of government ministers had created a bottleneck.

Human rights organizations also claim that the woman was denied access to a lawyer while detained. They also claim she was not aware of the charges leveled against her.

“We have grounds to believe she was illegally forced into signing a confession by the police,” Mossaad Mohamed Ali, who is the executive director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), said.

Adultery and theft are classified as hudud crimes in the Quran, according to the BBC. Allah is said to have highlighted these offenses in the holy book. In Sudan, those found guilty of such crimes can face the death penalty. Flogging, amputation, hanging, and stoning are among the punishments for hudud crimes in the Northeast African country.

Human rights groups also claimed that the government has not followed through on its promise to abolish stoning as a method of punishment. “Even the most conservative politicians are opposed to stoning,” said Ishaq. “However, it takes a long time for things to change here and then filter through to the courts, and women are the ones who suffer.”

To the best of campaigners’ knowledge, El Sherif Abdalla was the last woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. Following her conviction, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (Siha) and Amnesty International launched an international campaign calling for her release. She was eventually released with her baby in 2012. However, Hala Al-Karib, a Siha official, stated that there could be several such cases that they are unaware of.

“We are concerned that the appeal court will not rule in the young woman’s favour. We save women from these laws when the international community raises its voice and adds pressure on the Sudanese government, and that must happen again in this case,” Al-Karib said in reference to the 20-year-old woman’s case.

“This may be a shocking ruling globally, but doesn’t come as a shock to us.”

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Written by How Africa News

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