Home | News    Thursday 20 February 2014

Sudan: pregnant gang rape victim charged with adultery, prostitution

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

February 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - An 18-year-old Ethiopian woman, who was gang raped by seven men in Sudan, is facing a possible death sentence after being charged with adultery and prostitution.

JPEG - 20.8 kb
Advocacy groups say IDPs, migrants and impoverished women in Sudan are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, with existing legislation making it extremely difficult for victims seeking justice (Photo: Reuters)

According to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), the charges, which carry a potential sentence of death by stoning, came after the attorney-general denied requests by the woman’s legal team to lodge a formal complaint of rape that would have necessitated a full investigation by authorities.

It’s understood the request was turned down on the basis that that the woman is facing other charges and that she did not come forward immediately after the incident.

It’s alleged the attack took place in August 2013 when the woman was lured to an empty property while searching for a rental home in Omdurman, which neighbours the capital, Khartoum, where she was pinned down and raped by seven men.

The incident was filmed by one of the victim’s attackers, with the footage later surfacing on social media sites in January.

The woman, along with her attackers, was subsequently detained under Articles 153 and 154 of Sudan’s criminal code, pertaining to the making and distribution of indecent material and indecent behaviour.

FRESH CHARGES

After the court case began on the 6 February, the charges against the woman and the seven alleged perpetrators were upgraded to include Articles 151 referring to scandalous acts, 154 relating to prostitution, and 146 which refers to adultery.

A police officer who spoke to the victim shortly after her ordeal, but decided against pursuing an investigation as it was the Eid Al Fitr holiday has been charged with negligence, while a security officer who distributed the video online will also face trial.

SIHA said the woman, who is married and was about three months pregnant at the time of the attack, initially decided not to report the rape out of fear after her attackers threatened further violence.

“The intention to place culpability on the part of the victim is of great concern and seeks to deflect and reduce accountability of the perpetrators, but more disturbing is that the charge of adultery carries with it the potential sentence of death by stoning if found guilty,” the women’s advocacy group said in a public statement on its website.

“Denying her the ability to make a formal complaint which serves to refute the charges being laid against her and pursue justice, renders the perpetrators immune from accountability and violates the rights of the victim,” it adds.

LEGISLATION WEAK

SIHA says existing legislation severely limits the pursuit of justice for rape survivors in Sudan, with the burden of proof resting primarily on the victim.

The ambiguity of Article 149 itself, which defines rape as committing non-consented Zina (adultery), also leaves the legislation open to arbitrary interpretation.

“The vague legislation with a strong burden of proof on the victim has meant that few cases are ever successfully prosecuted and often victims are prosecuted and persecuted,” SIHA said.

The woman, who is now nine months pregnant, is being held in a bare cell and until recently did not even have a mattress. Bail requests on her behalf have so far been rejected by the attorney-general.

Migrants in Sudan have reported experiencing substantial mistreatment and marginalisation by Sudanese authorities and the local community at large. Significant animosity is directed towards Ethiopians in Sudan on the pretext that they are stealing jobs. Migrant women, who often work in low-skilled jobs in public places, are particularly vulnerable to harassment, due to negative social perceptions that they are HIV carriers or prostitutes.

The victim herself has faced such allegations since the case became public, with SIHA accusing Sudanese media of conducting in cynical campaign to defame the victim and discredit her character.

Although rarely executed, the sentence of stoning for adultery has been deployed twice in recent years, both times in 2012. However, the sentences were subsequently overturned following successful appeals in both cases.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 20 February 2014 08:56, by Konan

    Typical lies by so called SIHA to extract more fund from donors and legalize prostitution. According to police investigation, she is a prostitute and wasn’t gang raped instead she get paid for her services. Sharia law is applicable to those who are Muslims and stoning i.e. death penalty never carried out in Sudan for such crimes.

    repondre message

    • 20 February 2014 11:27, by Observer

      Have you read the police report?
      Have you seen the video that was posted on the internet by one of the rapists?

      repondre message

      • 20 February 2014 13:15, by Konan

        I haven’t read the police report because it is beyond my reach, but I read about it in newspapers. Concerning your question, yes I saw the video. Have you?

        repondre message

        • 20 February 2014 14:34, by Observer

          And you believe everything you read in papers??
          LOL you are a bigger fool than you make yourself out to be.
          I assume you read that the police officer was suspended for failing to respond to the complaint because he couldn’t be bothered and too lazy.
          Thanks goodness this article is now going viral around the world and our police and justice system will be once embarrassed about their incompetenc

          repondre message

          • 20 February 2014 19:12, by chol

            Fake Arabs should be ashamed of themselves and Mohammed sharia law.By the way what year it in North Sudan? Wake up and joined the world.

            repondre message

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


What do we expect from the final South Sudan Peace Talks? 2015-02-27 08:41:32 By Luka Biong Deng As the alleged final and last round of peace talks on South Sudan commenced in Addis Ababa, the people of South Sudan attach little hope and expect nothing as they have been (...)

The Berlin Meeting: What’s at stake? 2015-02-25 11:33:06 By the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) Between 25 and 27 February, Berlin will become the hub for the Sudanese unarmed and armed opposition, invited by the German Foreign Ministry and the (...)

Can a democratic government extend its own life? 2015-02-23 07:32:25 By Dr Lam Akol Last Thursday, the government tabled before parliament an amendment bill in order to amend the Constitution for the Government to extend its life for two more years. In a (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Archbishop Taban calls for reconciliation and forgiveness 2015-02-23 09:30:38 February 2015 Greetings from Peace Village, Kuron. It is really a Peace Village. I had my peaceful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in Kuron. God really blessed the area with Peace. You can (...)

WFP appreciates US additional support for S. Sudan’s hungry 2015-02-19 08:20:15 17 February 2015 (JUBA)- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of US$165.5 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to feed (...)

Press Release from the SPLM/A (IO) in Uganda 2015-02-11 09:39:09 February 10, 2015 1. The office of the SPLM/A (IO) and the presence of its diplomatic representation that was established under the Kampala outcome of the 21st August 2014 is operational and has (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2015 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.