Sudan has come under fire recently when a woman was ordered to be executed by a Sudanese court because she was convicted of adultery. Human rights groups are asking Sudan to get rid of death by stoning. According to Human Rights Watch, Intisar Sharif Abdallah is a married woman who gave birth five months ago and is being held with her child outside of Khartoum.
“No one should be stoned to death, and imposing this punishment on someone who may be a child is especially shocking,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director for Human Rights Watch.
The age for Abdallah has not been released, but Sudanese officials believe she could be under the age of 18, which by law means she cannot receive a death sentence. Also under the law, a defendant is permitted to have a lawyer in court. Abdallah admitted guilt under duress, when she was beaten and tortured by her brother, who began the case. Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) claim that her conviction came completely under duress. SIHA says that she is between the ages of 15 and 17 but Sudanese officials originally gave her age as 20.
The woman originally pled innocent to the charge and the case was thrown out of court. After the charge was dismissed she was beaten repeatedly by her brother, which caused her to confess to the adultery. This returned her to court and was convicted on the charge.
“She is understood to be deeply traumatized and is without access to suitable psycho-social support. Her newborn child is also with her in prison whilst she is shackled at the ankles, struggling to nurse him. Her co-accused, having maintained his denial of adultery, has therefore not been charged and now walks free,” a statement from SIHA said.
“Abdallah did not even receive the benefit of protections in Sudan’s own laws,” said Bekele, of Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should drop the charges and free her immediately.”
A request was issued by Amnesty International for people to send letters to Sudan, asking for the execution to be canceled prior to July 6.
“It is clear that the punishment of stoning is designed to cause the victim grievous pain before leading to death. Such methods of execution specifically designed to increase the suffering of victims are of particular concern to Amnesty International, as an extreme and cruel form of torture,” the Amnesty International statement said.
“The court relied solely on her coerced confession to convict and sentence her in a single court session, while the man alleged to have committed adultery with her denied the charges and was released,” Human Rights Watch was told by a lawyer for SIHA, according to Bekele.