Monday, May 28, 2012

Sudanese Teen To Be Stoned To Death For Adultery

Intisfar Sharif Abdalla is only a teen, somewhere between 15 and 17, and a mother of a newborn baby. But unlike the slew of young unwed mothers in this country who usually have a support system and family to help raise those children, Intisfar will be stoned to death in Sudan.

On May 13 (without legal counsel) Intisfar was sentenced to death, and she has her brother to blame for that. Apparently, he beat and tortured her into confessing to adultery, and was the one to bring the situation to the court's attention. Both Intisfar and the man who is accused of fathering her child denied being involved, but that's easy to refute when there's a child as proof.

Not surprisingly, while Intisfar sits in jail with her baby waiting to be pummeled to death by stones, the man has not been charged and walks free.

The travesty is that Judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo sentenced her with no representation, and only after one hearing, in spite of the fact the confession was coerced through torture. She eventually was able to speak to her lawyer, but only after the sentencing.

A women's organization Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) is pressing for an investigation, and hopefully an overturning of the death sentence.  Many believe the fact that the man is not being punished, is an indication of how unfairly women are treated in that country. And what about the brother's brutal beating of his sister?  I suppose he figured the court system would save him from having to honor kill Intisfar himself, but his torture also goes unpunished.
According to The Observer:

Sharif is understood to be deeply traumatized and is without access to any suitable psychosocial support. Her newly born child is also with her in prison. Ultimately, some observers believe the judgment demonstrates the scale of discrimination against women and girls in Sudan and the biased judgments made against them for acts which involves two sexes – a man and woman. It is incredulous that the man with whom she has been accused is able to walk free showing explicitly the strong anti-women sentiment and harsh management of family disputes that exist within both the Sudanese judicial system and society.

But it's not just Sudan, it's Islam (in general) which discriminates against women, particularly in countries that follow Shariah Law.

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