According to the SIHA Network, a leading Sudanese women’s rights organization, on July 10, a judge sentenced Laila Ibrahim Issa Jamool, 23, to death by stoning for being convicted of adultery.
“Mrs. Jamool, is now being detained, shackled at the ankles with her six-month old baby at her side. The child is understood to be in poor health and Mrs. Jamool is in need of psycho-social support for her distress,” SIHA said in a statement.
While uncommon in the country, it is the second such case this year. In April this year, Intisar Sharif Abdullah confessed to adultery after being beaten by her own brother and was sentenced to death by stoning.
In both cases the women did not have a lawyer present in dealing with the charges and were nursing children of breast feeding age.
Article 36(3) of Sudan’s 2005 interim Constitution of Sudan states: “No death penalty shall be executed upon pregnant or lactating women, save after two years of lactation.”
Abdullah was eventually released after an appeal with the retrial court finding a “lack of evidence” against her.
Responding to Jamool’s sentence SIHA issued a statement demanding her immediate and unconditional release and the end to the criminalization of women for adultery in Sudan.
The group has demanded the Ministry of Justice and other relevant institutions investigate and overturn the court ruling.
SIHA’s statement outlined that the case was “problematic” under both Sudanese and international law, calling on the “human rights community, The African Union, The Arab League, and United Nations and to oppose this practice and leverage its influence to prevent this act of brutality.”
Ironically, Jamool’s case has sparked even more outrage among Sudanese women themselves, with many arguing that the woman should not have been charged with adultery, but granted a divorce from her estranged husband.
Although she and her husband have technically been married since 2008, Jamool has not lived with him for over three years after citing domestic violence against her.
They have been in divorce proceedings for the past year, SIHA said.
SIHA Director Hala Alkarib argued that her organization “condemns all forms of corporal punishment”, especially those involving the criminalization of personal behavior.
“The victimization of women as the result of complex socio-economic and cultural relationships must be stopped and Sudan must urgently adopt measure and laws that protect and respect the dignity and the human rights of Sudanese women”.
“The criminalization of Sudanese women within the current legal framework subjects women to systematic and severe forms of violence and ultimately undermines their humanity and that of the society at large.”