Sudan: 16-year-old Girl to be Flogged for 'Crime' of Adultery
Following the postponement of the punishment from 20 December to 23 January due to the girl's poor health, Amnesty International is also asking people all over the world to write to the Sudanese authorities asking them to stop the punishment going ahead.
Intisar Bakri Abdulgader gave birth to a child in September after becoming pregnant outside marriage. She was convicted of adultery and sentenced by a local court in the Khartoum suburb of Kalakla in July when she was seven months pregnant. The sentence was upheld by the appeal court in August. The alleged father of the child has reportedly not been charged but will have a blood test to establish paternity.
Intisar is caring for her four-month-old son, Dori. She is said to be very frightened at the prospect of the punishment and is reportedly eating and sleeping very little.
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. Although the penal codes are based on an interpretation of Islamic law everyone in the north of Sudan is subject to them. Intisar's family are Christians from the south of Sudan who fled to the north to escape fighting near their home.
Amnesty International UK Media Director Lesley Warner said: 'The Sudanese authorities must not carry out this vicious sentence on a young girl.
'It is a cruel punishment which completely contravenes basic international human rights law, to which Sudan is a party. The authorities should abolish all these cruel punishments now.'
Scores of people were sentenced to amputation or flogging in Sudan last year. Flogging is frequently carried out immediately after sentencing leaving no chance for appeal, even when there are concerns about whether a fair trial has been held.
The Sudanese Penal Code, which is partly based on interpretation of Islamic legal doctrines, allows for penalties including flogging and amputations. Under Sudanese law, all who live in northern Sudan, whether Muslim or Christian (like Intisar Bakri Abdulgader), fall under the penalties of the Sudanese Penal Code's interpretation of religious law. The use of religious law is an issue of contention in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and rebels in the South.
Amnesty International does not take a position on Islamic or any other religious law, but does consider such penalties 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). Moreover, the flogging of a child contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is also a party.
Amnesty International is people all over the world to send appeals as soon as possible to the Sudanese ministers for home affairs, foreign affairs and justice asking for this sentence to be commuted and for the government to abolish cruel punishments.
Individuals can write urging the authorities to commute immediately the sentence of flogging passed on Intisar Bakri Abdulgader, and asking the government to abolish or suspend the punishment of flogging in Sudanese law to bring it into line with the international standards it has ratified.
Appeals can be sent to:
- Major General Abdul-Rahim Muhammed Hussein, Minister of Internal Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
- Mr Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan
- His Excellency Dr Hasan Abdin Mohammad Osman, Embassy of Sudan, 3 Cleveland Row, St James's, London SW1A 1DD