A Sudanese judge, Sami Ibrahim Shabo sentenced to death by stoning a young woman accused of committing adultery.
Intisar Sharif Abdalla, believed to be between 15 and 17 years of age (although prison authorities claim she is 20) was sentenced to death in accordance with Article 146 of the Sudanese criminal law albeit without legal representation.
The judgment was made on May 13, 2012 after just one hearing and came after an “admission of guilt” plea following torture and brutal beatings by Sharif’s brother who instigated the case. Her co-accused however remains un-convicted and walks freely.
This absurd decision demonstrates both the inhumane and brutal sanctioning to death for committing sexual relations outside of marriage, but furthermore calls into questions the legal institutions and frameworks applied, especially as the “admission of guilt” was made under duress.
Sharif is accused of having a relationship outside wedlock and getting impregnated by a man that is not legally her husband. Initially, she and the man whom she is co-accused with both denied the charges.
Her lawyer, only able to access her after the judgment was made, understands that following her initial denial she was beaten up and tortured repeatedly by her brother forcing her to confess to committing adultery. With the ‘coerced’ confession, Judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo of Ombada General Criminal Court, Khartoum state, sentenced her to stoning after just one court session.
Sharif is understood to be deeply traumatized and is without access to any suitable psychosocial support. Her newly born child is also with her in prison. Ultimately, some observers believe the judgment demonstrates the scale of discrimination against women and girls in Sudan and the biased judgments made against them for acts which involves two sexes – a man and woman. It is incredulous that
the man with whom she has been accused is able to walk free showing explicitly the strong anti-women sentiment and harsh management of family disputes that exist within both the Sudanese judicial system and society.
Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) is calling on the Sudan Ministry of Justice and other relevant Sudanese government bodies to investigate this case thoroughly and possibly overturn the judgment.