06 August 2012

Medieval Sudanese Laws Against Women

Sudanese Women
If reports from Reuters are true, then Sudan may be on the verge of becoming one of the most unfriendly country for women. I received a news email that alleged a Sudanese woman accused of adultery has been sentenced to death by stoning and is being held shackled with her six-month-old baby in jail!

If the reports are indeed factual, then this would be considered as the second such sentence in the past few months in a country whose leader, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, vowed to adopt a "100 percent" Islamic constitution. Will they adopt the same policy stand when dealing with the predominant non-Muslim population in South Sudan which became independent on 9 July 2011?

Anyway, the report further narrated that the court in the capital Khartoum sentenced 23-year-old Laila Ibrahim Issa Jamool on 10 July 2012 to death by stoning for adultery. This archaic and insensitive decision did not even mention if there are any penalties imposed against the male partner who is equally guilty if this accusation is really true.

"The appeal is understood to take not less than one-and-a-half months before a response can be got from the court of appeal. During all this time, Ms. Jamool will still be shackled in Omdurman (near Khartoum) women's prison together with her six-month (old) child," The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) said in a statement.

Another question that baffled every rational mind is why include an innocent child? Is this how the law in Sudan evolves after suffering from seventeen years of civil war followed by ethnic, religious and economic conflicts between the Muslim Arabs of Sudan or Northern Sudan and the mostly animist and Christian Nilotes of Southern Sudan?

Maybe it is not the people of Sudan who should initiate changes towards genuine democracy. Maybe it all boils down to the leadership. If the leader is a genocidal maniac, the hope of peace and development will remain the horizon.

It can be recalled that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor on Darfur, Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced on 14 July 2008, ten criminal charges against Bashir, accusing him of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ICC's prosecutors also claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. Unfortunately, the Arab League, African Union, and France support Sudan's efforts to suspend the ICC investigation. They are willing to consider Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute, which states ICC investigations can be suspended for one year if the investigation endangers the peace process.

But how can there be peace when medieval laws still rule and women and children are slowly being killed for no reason than they are women and children?