Sudanese groups call to amend “intimidating” Islamic laws

The amputation of a hand and a foot on opposite sides (the right hand and the left foot) is one of the provisions of the criminal law in Sudan in accordance with the Islamic law, applied to theft, looting or assaulting women at gunpoint.

The verdict was issued on June 23, under Article 168 of the Criminal Code against a man convicted of looting 38,000 Sudanese pounds ($48) and a mobile phone.

In a statement extended to the Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, women and human rights groups demanded to immediately stop enforcing this “heinous punishment” and to change it to be commensurate with the committed crime.

The groups further called for reforming the criminal justice system and the abolition of “inhuman and degrading punishments”, in addition to signing human rights treaties such as the Convention against Torture.

In July 2020, the Interim Parliament amended several laws, which came in the context of legal reforms aimed at preventing the restriction of public freedoms, said the government.

The various amendments act, in return, confirmed the full application of Islamic criminal penalties.

The transitional government “neglected the jurisprudence of religious reform, which aimed to harmonize Islamic beliefs with the human rights system,” said the groups.

They further pointed out that most Muslim countries now decided that “the application of Islamic criminal sanctions hudud should be linked to a specific temporal and social context (…)”.

Islamic sanctions were introduced in Sudan by the former President Jaafar Nimeiri in September 1983, after his reconciliation with the Islamists. Since they were enhanced by the government of Omer al-Bashir in 1990.

“The continued adoption of corporal punishments, such as cutting off the hand and the foot from the opposite side, execution, crucifixion, and flogging confirms that the Sudanese people are still ruled by the system of intimidating 1983 laws,” stresses the statement.

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