On the 24th of November, the Court of Appeal overturned the verdict of the Court of First Instance which had convicted Amal* to death by stoning for adultery. The case has been sent back to the primary court under the Court of Appeal’s ruling that, given the flawed proceedings and distorted implementation of the law, the whole trial will be repeated. The legal reasoning of the decision relied on the failure of the Court of First Instance to observe Amal’s constitutional right to a fair trial and specifically, the importance of notifying her of the severity of the potential punishment before passing the verdict. Further, the Court of Appeal has called into question whether or not the young lady’s status fulfils the criteria of being married, and thus could be subjected to death by stoning, as this punishment can only be applied when it is established that the defendant was married at the time, according to the Sudanese Criminal Act of 1991. Overall, the Court of Appeal found that the initial verdict could not be accepted in light of the Court of First Instance’s failure to delve into these details and investigate the marital status of the young lady accordingly.
While this ruling is a good sign, women in Sudan are still under constant threat of conviction of adultery and facing sentences of flogging or death by stoning. The situation is even more grave, when it is understood that adultery is assumed by default, if a woman cannot manage to prove to the court that it was rape.
Prioritize changing the miserable situation of women’s human rights, and urgently conduct fundamental reform of Sudan’s legal framework.
Immediately release the young woman survivor sentenced to death by stoning, and end her illegal persecution and imprisonment.
Condemn all Sudanese laws that persecute women by violating their human rights and limiting their participation in public life.
Hold Sudan accountable for continuing to utilize and legitimize terrorizing punishments and torture against women, such as stoning, amputation, flogging, and other degrading punishments, within its legal frameworks.
Demand that Sudan ends the state of perpetrator impunity that enables sexual violence against women and girls by the military and other armed groups across the country.
Highlight and condemn the systemic violence against women and girls in Sudan, including the use of public flogging and other forms of torture, that have increased following the October 25th military coup.
Call on Sudan’s political actors and political parties to adopt women’s human rights as a central issue within their agendas in Sudan’s transformation toward democracy and peace and to ratify all pending women’s rights international and regional conventions, namely CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol.
*Amal is not the individual’s real name, which has been concealed in the interests of her long-term privacy and safety