Woman’s ‘Death by Stoning’ Sentence Rattles Activists



An October military coup in Sudan may have shifted the movement on women’s rights there, and not in a good way. A 20-year-old woman arrested in White Nile state last month and charged with adultery has now heard her fate: death by stoning, the first known sentence like it in Sudan in almost 10 years, reports the Guardian. Maryam Alsyed Tiyrab says she’s going to appeal, and most stoning death sentences, mainly against women, are overturned by the nation’s high court. But human rights activists are concerned both for Tiyrab and for women in the country overall.

According to Islamic law, “Hudud” crimes like theft, apostasy, drinking alcohol, and adultery are subject to penalties such as flogging, hand and foot amputation, and death, per the Sudan Tribune. Flogging was outlawed by Sudan’s transitional government in 2020, but it’s still doled out as a punishment by the courts. Stoning, meanwhile, wasn’t included in any of the recent reforms to hard-line criminal legislation or Shariah policies, but last August, the nation ratified the United Nation’s convention against torture. The last time a woman in Sudan was given a stoning death sentence for adultery was in 2013, in the state of South Kordofan.

Killing someone by stoning for such a crime “is a grave violation of international law, including the right to life and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” according to the Uganda-based African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, which claims that Tiyrab wasn’t afforded a fair trial, including not being allowed to have a lawyer, per the Guardian. The center alleges that the stoning sentence violates both Sudanese and international laws and says it wants Tiyrab released ASAP, with no strings attached. (Read more Sudan stories.)

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