Sudan: 15-year-old girl to be given 100 lashes for 'crime' of adultery

Mahasin Abaker was 14 years old and nine months pregnant when she was sentenced to 100 lashes at a court in Nyala, South Darfur on May 17 2003. Her final appeal was heard by the Supreme Court in October 2003. Despite objections by her lawyer that she was not fit to undergo such a punishment and that her age must be taken into account, the court has now announced that the sentence has been upheld. Mahasin now has no further legal means of appeal.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Lesley Warner said:

'This degrading punishment violates basic human rights law and must not go ahead.'

Scores of people were sentenced to amputation or flogging in Sudan last year. The case of 16-year-old Intisar Bakri Abdulgader who was convicted of adultery in July 2003 when she was seven months pregnant led to international outcry following which the sentence was recently suspended.

Under article 146 of Sudan's Penal Code, adultery is punishable by execution by stoning if the offender is married, or by one hundred lashes if the offender is not married. Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with a man without being lawfully bound to him. The provincial criminal court in Nyala convicted Mahasin Abaker Fadul of adultery on the basis that she was unmarried and nine months pregnant.

Mahasin has now given birth to her baby and is waiting to hear when the punishment of 100 lashes will be inflicted.

Background

Amnesty International is not against Islamic or any other religious law, but is against actions that contravene people's basic human rights. It considers penalties like flogging and amputation to be cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments which are inconsistent with Sudan's obligations under international human rights law (Sudan is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). The flogging of a child also contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is also a party.

Amnesty International is asking its supporters all over the world to send appeals as soon as possible to the Sudanese Vice-President calling for this sentence to be commuted and for the government to abolish cruel punishments.

Appeals to:

Mr Ali Osman Mohammad Taha
First Vice-President
People's Palace,
PO Box 281,
Khartoum,
Sudan
Telegram: First Vice-President, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: 00 249 11 771025
[Salutation: Your Excellency]

Copies of appeals to:
His Excellency Dr Hasan Abdin Mohammad Osman,
Embassy of Sudan,
3 Cleveland Row,
St James's,
London SW1A 1DD.
Fax: 020 7839 7560

Amnesty International launches its global campaign Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights on the 5th March 2004. Information about the campaign will be online from that date at: www.amnesty.org.uk/svaw .

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