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Sudan’s stoning sentence: What is beneath religion?

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About Intisar Zena charges and stoning sentence by Sudan local court

By Hala Alkarib

May 31, 2012 - On April 22, Sudanese judge, Sami Ibrahim Shabo sentenced to death by stoning a young woman accused of Zina (adultery). Her name is: Intisar Sharif Abdalla, married and a mother of three little children. The judegment itself is ruthless under any Islamic Sharia and Fiqh interpretation; stoning hasn’t been applied to a woman for adultery in Sudan despite the country’s fundamentalist religious legal system. The Islamic Fiqh Hudud in crimes (corporal punishment) such as cutting of limbs, the punishment for theft, and stoning to death, the punishment of Zina (adultery) are silently suspended, yet not lifted from the criminal code and remain present in Sudan’s legal system.

Intisar was accused of having a relationship and being impregnated by a man who wasn’t her husband. After being reported by her brother, initially she and her co-accused both denied the charges. Later the case was reopened again by the brother and Intisar confessed to committing adultery. The most disturbing aspect of this case is that the admission of guilt and judicial sentencing comes following a period of sustained beatings by her brother who brought forward the case. The absence of legal representation and clarification of the procedures for the woman in question, whose first language is not Arabic, is equally troublesome. She was taken to court where Judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo of Ombada General Criminal Court in Omdurman city of greater Khartoum state, sentenced her to stoning to death after one court session. Lawyers only gained access to her after the judegment was made. The man co-accused with Intisar was released based on his mere denial of the charges of Zina!

Intisar’s case highlights the fickle application of international human rights conventions and legislation that Sudan has voluntarily become party to, such as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and the African Charter and its protocol on the rights of women. This case demonstrates the difficulty of reconciling Sudan’s current legal jurisdiction and its regional and international obligations as a member of international and regional communities. This contradiction is as well reflected in the massive polarisation taking place in Sudan at the moment as well as challenges to peaceful coexistence between the different nations inside the country.
 
Furthermore, the stoning judgment stands against all the values, traditions and heritage of the Sudanese. Given the fact that the application of Zina has so far been dormant in Sudan, this case ought to be read within the broader political and cultural dynamics at work in Sudan currently, and in particular the religious discourses out of which justification for Zina is derived. These discourses, which I briefly outline below, point to the fact that there is more at play than the moral justifications given for this harsh judgement.
 
There are significant and complex differences among the Islamic Fiqh schools regarding the conditions required for a valid Zina confession and for testimonial evidence. These differences are based on the varying levels of different arguments with in Fiqh schools. For example, while some Islamic schools require the Zina confession to be uttered four separate times and require the presence of four witnesses during the act of Zina, the Maliki school (dominant in Sudan) considers either one’s confession or the presence of four witnesses as sufficient.

Then again, in cases of pregnancy as a result of Zina, the majority of opinion in the Maliki Fiqh School agrees that the duration of a woman’s pregnancy can last up to seven years before she is subjected to court trial.
 
A closer look at the classical Islamic schools, mainly the Sunah schools (Madahib) and the scholarship that emerged in the 8th century on the Islamic legal system shows that, they all tried to prevent the conviction of women for Zina and avoided stoning as a brutal form of punishment. It is unacceptable that now, 12 centuries later, a judge sitting in Sudan, or in any other part of the Muslim world for that matter, would rule out all accumulated knowledge, wisdom and various accumulated attempts of interpretations given the complexity of the issue, and choose to sentence a young woman to death.

The sentencing of Intisar comes in accordance with Article 146 of the Sudanese Criminal Code. However, ultimately what the Islamic Sharia of Sudan’s criminal code reveals is the deeply rooted discriminatory nature of Sudan legal system generated from the ruling regime’s ideology which perceives women as purveyors of moral wrongs and seeks to banish illegal aliens.

The repression of women in Sudan is illustrated in the Sudanese legislative system’s approach towards women. Both Sudan’s criminal and family codes are engineered through a mix of criminal and moral prohibitions which blur the distinction between the creation of law in the service of promoting a particular public interest and the imposition of moral precepts based on specific ideological conviction. The de-anchoring of the law from a clear standard of general public interest leaves Sudan’s legislation in relation to personal matters particularly open to exploitation as a tool to express the temporary interests of the authorities in control. A good example is the public order police of Sudan’s, Special Forces that are assigned to terrorise women and interrogate them by observing their personal behaviour, their dress code, their mobility and their exposure in the public sphere. Ultimately the ideology behind the articles and the application of the Sudanese criminal code is meant to enforce the tyranny of the ruling regime through alienating women by crippling their public participation, both of which have a paralysing effect on society as a whole.

Politically, Intisar’s sentencing is significant. She is originally from South Kordofan, the most recent region where civil conflict erupted in Sudan. Following the independence of South Sudan gender and racial profiling and discrimination is dominating the current political scene in the country. In addition, the fluidity of the Sudan’s current legal system poses a serious threat to thousands of women currently living in the country, enduring and suffering under the violence generated by Sudan’s unjust legal system and its brutal enforcement.

This violence ranges from lashing to long term imprisonments of poor women street vendors, students, and others working in the fringes of society, all of whom are regularly subjected to accusations of prostitution, intention to commit Zina, and indecent dressing. The rationale behind Sudan’s criminal code is based on vague definitions of guilt, yet it very assertively delegates the power of judgment to the enforcers to interpret it as they wish, in line with the reactionary political agenda.

Intisar is currently shackled by metal chains and imprisoned in Omdurman women’s prison in Sudan together with her four month old baby, where she is being re-victimised and burdened again by the complex layers of Sudan’s heavy political baggage and an unjust legal system.

The writer is the Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA)



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  • 1 June 2012 07:08, by Akol Liai Mager

    Jesus to the Jews; "Anyone who has never done any sins take the lead, take a stone and hit her first". The Jews went away after one another, and Jesus called the poor woman, come her daughter of Abraham, take your things, go home and don’t do it again. Given this quoted; Muhammad and his Qura’an are the predators of women. If not, why Muslim men marry 4 wives? Where is the man who made an adultery

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    • 1 June 2012 09:07, by Darkangel

      Look you retarded ignorant idiot. When you quote Jesus you mention the bible. Before you insult Mohammed PBAH and the Quran why dont you find out what it says. Let me help you - go to Surat al Nur in the Quran and read the first 5 verses you will get your answer. Jesus PBAH did not say not to stone her. Her knows this is law of the Jews and Christians, but you ’secular’ clowns chose to ignore god

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    • 1 June 2012 09:10, by Darkangel

      Stoning was a law and command sent down by God, if you believe in him, the Bible or the Torah, you insult god by claiming these laws are barbaric or predatory against women. Remember what you say for one day he will ask you. If you are people of faith. Read your books & see the laws - they are still there. But if you chose to follow the white mans ’human laws’ international bla bla over gods

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      • 1 June 2012 09:15, by Darkangel

        Then im sorry, you are selling your faith, religion, and god to these immoral and godless people. Its a cheap price ! So they can recognize you as equal, not call you barbaric and offer you their fake and hypocritical acceptance.

        Do not mix religion with traditions were women are subject to discrimination. But the hypocrisy of the West, it happens in Sudan they go crazy in Saudi - hush hush.

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        • 1 June 2012 09:46, by Akol Liai Mager

          I do understand well why all this rage and insulting because they are all originated in Islam. Thanks to Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Ali for using their knowledge, skills, professionals and experiences in exposing the true Islam and Muhammad the perpetrator of all mankind sufferings. I lived amid Muslims and is well aware how dangerous this man-made regligion is to the life. Delude yourself

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          • 3 June 2012 08:52, by mogokafi

            Devil Darkangel, you and your gov’t are deceiving yourselves and not Allah when you talk about Islamic Sharia laws in Sudan. The gov’t of Sudan uses Sharia laws as tools and tactics to cover up its barbarous act. This is an ethnic cleansing against non Arab women. Al Bashir said, "if a Jaali man rapes a Darfurian woman; its an honor to her and her family". where is Quran in this case?

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    • 1 June 2012 21:03, by Elijah B. Elkan

      Akol Liai Mager,

      I like your comment, however the Islamic religion is the cancer in the world. Muhammad was not a prophet but an idiot buffoon. I also like your quot of Muhammad was a "predator" on women and children. Muhammad was psychopath and his Qur’an is fake. God rest this young lady soul in peace.

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  • 1 June 2012 09:52, by Akol Liai Mager

    Delude yourself that you have a prophet to defend, but be aware of the calls within this religion for the removal of all Muhammad inputs which have caused a lot of troubles worldwide. Another thanks to Al-Turabi for acknowledging that all dead and living Mujahadeen whom the NIF pressumed to have entred Paradise or will, are heading to Hell forever.

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  • 1 June 2012 09:59, by Akol Liai Mager

    Be assure also, that the liberation of all Muslim Women from this brutal Religion has begun and is actually around the corner. So, the death of the blessed, Intisar is another armintion to the liberators of Muslim Women. Do you ever read Non-NIF Arabic Newspapers? Try to read these papers for your awareness and self-benefit. May God bless you as he did to Saul.

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    • 1 June 2012 13:45, by Darkangel

      Akol you racist islamaphobic nut, dont mix your hatred for muslims and arabs with facts. If Islam is a brutal religion so is Judaism and Christianity. These are gods laws and mentioned in all 3 religions. Being blind to yours and criticizing 1 shows your ignorance and hatred not only for the religion but disrespect for Gods judgment. Liberate Muslim woman from what, gods rules. Its their choice !

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      • 1 June 2012 13:48, by Darkangel

        But she, just like any man will be judged by his/her deeds and obedience to god. So if Western women tell you they are free running around half naked and having kids at 6 with 6 boyfriends - its a joke. Islam has given women respect and dignity. Not so you can gauge your eyes at every woman that passes. Look at Nuns in Christianity, its almost a hijab. They chose to do so.

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        • 1 June 2012 13:52, by Darkangel

          Its virtue, humility and submission to god. Same as muslim women who chose to wear the hijab, its not for the mens sake or their husbands. Its for the sake of god and his acceptance.

          Akol you do know what sins are - dont you? Or watching all that MTv and the white mans dream world made you forget. I hope god forgives us all for our sins.

          Mea culpa...mea maxima culpa

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  • 1 June 2012 10:20, by Akol Liai Mager

    Have you actually read and understood the points that Hala has made? If not, please read it again thoroughly and you will find that, not only Muhammad and his religion are inhumane, but NIF genocidal men are still rewriting the so-called Qura’an to make it even more brutal to non-Arab women from Nuba Mts, Darfur worldwide. Killing women in the name of Islam is endangering world peace and must end.

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    • 1 June 2012 13:37, by Darkangel

      First listen ! Second it didnt originated in the Quran, third its not even mentioned in the Quran.

      Let me quote you something from the bible and Torah.
      The Torah sentences death by stoning for the following:
      Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man (both should be stoned, Deut. 22:23-24)
      Getting married as though a virgin, when not a virgin (Deut. 22:13-21)

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      • 1 June 2012 13:40, by Darkangel

        Having a "familiar spirit" (or being a necromancer) or being a "wizard" (Lev. 20:27)
        Cursing God (Lev. 24:10-16)
        Engaging in idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2-7) or seducing others to do so (Deut. 13:7-12)
        Giving one’s "seed" (presumably one’s offspring) "to Molech" (Leviticus 20:2-5)

        NOW i dare you to find something in the Quran about stoning.

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        • 1 June 2012 15:46, by Grace Amani

          Dear Darkangle,
          Thank you very much for giving them something in the Bible, But you know this are People’s worshippers and if you don’t believed in me asks them about Ramadan stroy and at the sametime Islamic. This are the reason why they don’t believed on human rights.

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        • 2 June 2012 01:26, by Akol Liai Mager

          First of all let’s be objective and logic by giving comments that reflect the objective of feeding-back the writer. Secondly, you have identified yourself as an enemy of Muslim women, having not identified yourself to the readers and writer is an evidence that your are a women’s rights abuser. Thirdly, your suggestion that Muslim women have no choices other than being stoned to death is a crime.

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  • 2 June 2012 01:38, by Akol Liai Mager

    One child or more in the Police officer’s family would likely chose a police career, therefore the choice of the name "Darkangel" is not surprising to me because you are a Muslim and your thoughts and acts do reflect the education that you got from a dark religion. My surprise is for those who say, all these bad thoughts and actions by muslims have do not reflect the teaching of Islam. I say

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    • 2 June 2012 01:47, by Akol Liai Mager

      I say, what we are now witnessing, experiencing and hearing about Jihad, bombing, stonning women, raping young women, killing opponents and human rights abuses by Muslim men all reflect the true islam. I went to school with muslims, worked with them and neighboured them and have never seen that part so-called moderate Islam. Islam was founded on injustice and am afraid that it will remain so.

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      • 2 June 2012 02:02, by Mohamed

        Akol,
        it seems you escape from Darkangels argument by changing the subject. Does the bible teach stoning of the adulteress or not?
        Don’t escape by slandering Islam. Prove him wrong or agree.

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        • 2 June 2012 02:10, by Akol Liai Mager

          I am not a pokeperson for the Bible, but at least I have nevr seen in my life, or heard a priest or group of Christians stonning a poor young women as did by Muslims clerics in Khartoum who just took off sweet life out of Intisar.

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          • 2 June 2012 02:20, by Akol Liai Mager

            Just have some courage to reveal your identities so that you take full responsibilty of your comments. I know that Muslim men never have that courage of being responsible for their acts by showing who they are unless they have enguled themselves with Tanks and Jet-fighters made by Kuffar. Sudantribune should conditioned the revealing of true identity from comments makers for accepting comments.

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        • 2 June 2012 03:18, by Akol Liai Mager

          Of course, whoever does not acknowledge his/her past and present history has no bright future. So, it is true that the Old Testament contained Tooth with Tooth, an eye with an eye and stonning of adulters. But Jesus has overridden both by saying; 1. "come here daughter of Abraham, collect your things, go home and do not do it again". 2 "love your neigbours including enemies as you love yourself".

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      • 2 June 2012 02:03, by Akol Liai Mager

        Of course, I hate Islam and have all rights to be so because I am one of the victims of this Dark and man-made religion (Islam). I hate on top of that, how arrogantly the muslim men are toward lives. They rewarded themselves rights to marry more than one wife same time and denied the same rights to women. Islam is really the hell endured by women in this world.

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        • 2 June 2012 10:09, by Darkangel

          Akol your nothing but a hater, racist and islamophob. Continue to ignore my point fine, but your the fool that started this discussion with ’Jesus to the Jews..’ Now you deny your book.

          I wont waste my time with such peoples - you will answer to god.

          Remember these words, one day your hands will witness to what you write and may god show you mercy.

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          • 2 June 2012 10:22, by Akol Liai Mager

            Good on you if you wont keep wasting your time because you are giving up supporting the killing of innocent people and worshiping the Devil religion. Go for it before it is too late for you to make a U-turn. Good loves you and you must love him back simply by respecting, and not taking lives.

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            • 2 June 2012 10:31, by Akol Liai Mager

              You are obliged by your inhumane religion to kill and abuse people as you wish, you have tools for doing that, but you don’t have the necessary tools to silent the truth. I know you have Omdurman’s racist Radio, TV and plenty of Newspapers, but silencing the truth is not that simple like killing innocent people just because they are either different, or do not agree with you.

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  • 2 June 2012 13:33, by Styk3r

    Hi im going to state straight up that im a Christian. I believe the bible and strive to follow its teachings. im also white and i also live in "the west".

    Darkangel lets take some of your comments to examine.

    "Akol you racist islamaphobic nut" and

    "But if you chose to follow the white mans ’human laws’ international bla bla over gods" and

    "But the hypocrisy of the West"

    were are you from.

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    • 2 June 2012 13:38, by Styk3r

      to be honest your comments come out quite racist. your calling other people racist and then you go on about "the white man"
      and "the west"

      i think you are racist.

      and as for pointing the islamaphob stick akol mentions a passage from the bible and you explode on an anti Christian Jew rant.

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      • 2 June 2012 13:52, by Styk3r

        and i dont see how akol was denying his book. he stated quite clearly that.

        you cant just read a few parts of the bible and think you suddenly have an understanding of the whole thing its people and its message.

        you should read the whole thing before you claim to be an expert on it.

        the whole point of the bible is to show gods forgiveness to sinners. thats the whole point of Jesus`s life o

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        • 2 June 2012 13:56, by Styk3r

          on the earth.

          the torah gives the law of moses, which you quoted earlier.

          one of the themes of the bible is that the law was given to show and expose the sinful nature of man. the bible clearly explains that you cannot be justified by the law in the eyes of God simply because no one could possibly live up to gods law.

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