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Judicial CP - November 2002

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Africa News Service, 26 November 2002

Violence Against Women Concern in the Sudan

Nov 26, 2002 (World Organization Against Torture/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The International Secretariat of OMCT has received information on the following situation in Sudan.

Brief description of the Situation

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has been informed by the Sudanese Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) of the sentencing of 17 women in Munwashi, who have been tried for adultery, to 100 lashes of the whip each.

According to the information received, between 12 and 20 November 2002, 17 women in Munwashi, a village about 8 kilometers north of Nyala in Darfour, Western Sudan, were convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes of the whip. The charges of adultery were based solely on the fact that all of the women are unmarried but have children between the ages of 6 and 12 months. The women's names are:

1. Um Alnas Mohamed Ahmed (21) 2. Hanan Abdulrahman Mohamed (19) 3. Hagir Mohamed Ahmed (18) 4. Nimat Abakr Abdelgadir (19) 5. Rasha Bahr Aldin Adam (18) 6. Fatima Abdulla Adam (20) 7. Gada Mosa Hamid (18) 8. Shamael Omar Fadl (22) 9. Hawa Yousif Abdelgadir (18) 10. Fathia Ahmed Abdulrahman (18) 11. Laila Adam Siraj (20) 12. Kaltoum Isam Adam (22) 13. Rawda Abdelgabar Mohamed (20) 14. Zahra Hassan Ali (21) 15. Gadah Abdelgabar (19) 16. Asma Mohamed Ahmed (18) 17. Zakia Altayeb

On 12, 14 and 20 November, the women were tried by Muhaakama Ijaaziya courts, which are reportedly in violation of internationally accepted fair trial standards notably in the way they carry out summary trials. They were tried under Article 146 of Sudan's Penal Code, which states "whoever commits the offence of adultery shall be punished with (a) execution by stoning when the offender is married (mushan), or (b) one hundred lashes of the whip when the offender is not married (non-mushan)." None of the women were given legal representation at their trials and the punishments were all carried out on the same day as the trial, giving the women no opportunity seek legal advice or apply for an appeal. No men were punished in connection with these convictions.

Previously this year, two other women - Abok Alfa Akok (see OMCT Urgent Appeal Case SDN 040102.2 VAW and previous related appeals) and Alawiyah Mohamed Abdullah - were punished with lashes of the whip by the Special Court in Nyala having been charged with adultery. In both cases, the sentence was carried out on the same day as the conviction and no men were charged or punished in connection with the convictions of adultery.

OMCT is deeply concerned by the reports of sentencing to 100 lashes of the aforementioned 17 women convicted of adultery by the court in Nyala and unreservedly condemns the use of corporal punishment, which clearly violates international human rights standards that prohibit the use of torture. OMCT is also gravely concerned by the lack of legal representation given to the women throughout this process and the immediate infliction of punishment with no opportunity for appeal or legal consultation. OMCT would like to recall that the government of Sudan is a State Party to international human rights instruments which prohibit and punish torture including; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Sudan has failed to sign the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a signal of the government's failure to adequately protect women's rights.

Geneva, 26 November 2002

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