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Sudan defends human rights record before UNHRC committee

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July 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A committee of experts at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva expressed concern over the continuation of war crimes, torture and arrests in Sudan and criticised Khartoum’s insistence on the application of the death penalty, citing the case of Meriam Ibrahim who was sentenced to death after being convicted of apostasy.

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UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, gives a press conference on June 24, 2014 in Khartoum (Photo AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Last week the committee listened to a report on Sudan’s human rights situation and asserted that Khartoum’s efforts to establish human rights is still severely lacking and does not live up to the required standards.

According to reliable sources that spoke to Sudan Tribune, the undersecretary of the Sudanese ministry of justice Ismail Abdel-Kader strongly rejected the report and listed what he said were difficult and challenging circumstances facing his country while stressing Khartoum’s commitment to international laws and conventions.

Abdel-Kader noted that Islamic Sharia’a law is the source of legislation in Sudan and addressed what he described as misconception surrounding the death penalty and that Islamic law contradicts international conventions.

The official said that Sudan like the rest of the world has its own assessments and mechanisms that allows the implementation of the death penalty for apostasy in accordance with Islamic Sharia’a law. He went on to say that the death penalty remains controversial when it comes to defining serious crimes and that each state decides it in the way it sees appropriate.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death in May for renouncing Islam, but was released last month after what the government said was “unprecedented” international pressure. An appeals court found her not guilty on two charges of apostasy and adultery and overturned the lower tribunal’s verdict.

She is now reportedly facing forgery charges along with police complaints filed by her alleged siblings. It is not clear what the next legal steps would entail. Ibrahim and her family are currently staying at the US embassy .

Abdel-Kader pointed out that the Sudanese judiciary annulled 10 death sentences out of 227 cases, explaining that their legal system guarantees right to appeal capital punishment in the event of sufficient grounds.

A report by Khartoum and another by the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Mashood Baderin, will be submitted to the UNHRC plenary session in September.

(ST)

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