December 12, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese judicial authority on Sunday issued a statement announcing a probe into the manner by which a Sudanese woman was flogged as part of a punishment handed down on her, Sudan’s state media said.
This week a YouTube video surfaced showing an unidentified woman in a voluminous cloak on her knees screaming and pleading in agony and pain with blue-uniformed policemen who took turns whipping her across the head and feet.
The policemen are shown to be laughing as the woman received the punishment and they are heard saying that she is sentenced to 50 lashes.
The video stirred widespread outcry among Sudanese around the world and even some pro-government columnists wrote critically of the incident.
"The investigation was started immediately after the images of the young woman, being punished under Articles 154 and 155 of the 1991 Sudanese penal code, appeared on the Internet," the judiciary said in a statement.
The statement said the investigation would look into whether the punishment was carried out improperly.
Article 154 and 155 of the Sudanese penal code mandates flogging up to 100 lashes as a punishment for adultery or running a brothel, as well as up to five years in prison.
The deputy police chief Adel Al-Agib, speaking to the Dubai based Al-Arabiya TV, yesterday said that the timing of releasing the video was ill-intentioned to coincide with the Human Rights day of December 10th and to smear the image of the country.
At the beginning of the video the woman is asked to bend down or face two years in jail. A man standing is also heard asking the policemen to carry out the sentence quickly “so we can go [home]”.
“Oh my mom…enough” the unidentified woman is heard screaming.
The video brings to memory the case of a Sudanese female journalist who was arrested last year and charged with indecent clothing.
A former reporter who was working for the United Nations at the time of her arrest, Hussein has publicized her case, posing in loose trousers she was arrested in for photos and calling for media support.
Under international pressure and intense media coverage, Hussein was spared the 40 lashes stipulated under the charge and was fined an equivalent of $200.
She refused to pay the fine but the head of the pro-government journalists union made the payment and she was released from jail.
Sudan’s government implements a conservative version of Islamic law in the north, and "public order" police enforce the laws, banning alcohol, breaking up parties and scolding men and women who mingle in public.