Sudan Organisation Against Torture
PRESS RELEASE: 5 June 2003
15 Year- old Girl sentenced to 30 Lashes
On 1 June 2003, 15 year- old Aziza Salih Adam (f) was sentenced to 30 lashes of the whip by the District Court (Mahkamat Al- Muhafiza, formerly known as the Public Order Court,( Al- Nizam Al- ‘Aam) in Nyala, Western Darfour. Aziza, who works as an assistant to street- vendor selling tea in the Wehda district of Nyala, received this sentence for not wearing socks to cover her feet. The punishment was carried out on the same day as the sentencing.
Aziza was arrested from the street where she was working by the Police for Community Security (Police Amn Al- Mujtama’). According to regulations, all female street- vendors (especially those selling tea and food) must wear socks to cover their feet. In her defence, Aziza explained that she could not afford to purchase socks.
This is the most recent of incidents which reflects the unjust treatment and harassment of women in the Sudan, where strict adherence to often impractical dress codes is enforced in the name of Islam. Such severe punishments are commonplace in Darfour, where inter- tribal conflicts have escalated over recent months and penalties are the most severe in the whole of the country.
Since the termination of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Sudan on 17 April 2003, the Sudanese government has stepped- up incidences of arbitrary arrests, restrictions on the freedom of _expression and association as well as torture and other cruel punishments such as the death penalty, amputations and whippings. This has been the case throughout the whole country and for the Darfour region in particular. Not only are these human rights violations much more frequent compared to other regions, but the most severe punishments are often carried out almost immediately, in this way allowing no opportunity for the defendant to appeal.
SOAT condemns this kind of punishment and is gravely concerned that the government of Sudan is increasingly implementing punishments of this nature against the people of Darfour, most notably women. Punishments such as whippings and amputations constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments according to the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Sudan has ratified states that:
‘No child shall be subjected to torture other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.
I) Immediately cease the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments
ii) Ensure that all trials are fair and are held before an impartial and competent tribunal
iii) Guarantee the procedural rights of defendants at all times
iv) Guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards, and conform to all recommendations made by the Human Rights Committee.
v) Guarantee girls and women their human rights, including their right to be free from discrimination, their right to legal counsel and a fair trial, and their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in line with international laws and standards
vi) Ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women as well as the Convention Against Torture
The above recommendations should be sent in appeals to the following addresses:
His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir President of the Republic of Sudan President’ s Palace PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 783223
Mr Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ministry of Justice Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 788941
Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 779383 Dr Yasir Sid Ahmed Advisory Council for Human Rights PO Box 302 Khartoum, Sudan Sudan Fax: + 24911 770883
His Excellency Ambassador Mr. Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim,
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva,
PO Box 335,
Fax: +4122 731 26 56,
Freedom Now News http://freeworldnow.com/