WGNRR Urged the President of Sudan to Stop the Stoning of Intisar Sharif Abdallah


June 28th, 2012


TO: HE Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Office of the President

People’s Palace

PO Box 281

Khartoum, Sudan

Email: info@sudan.gov.sd


TO Minister of Justice                 

Mohammed Bushara Dousa

Ministry of Justice

PO Box 302

Al Nil Avenue

Khartoum, Sudan

Email: info@sudanjudiciary.org


TO: Chief Justice

Jalal al-Din Mohammed Osman

Ministry of Justice

Al-Jamha Street

Khartoum, Sudan




Your Excellency


The Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) is a southern-based global network that builds and strengthens movements to realise the full sexual and reproductive health and rights and justice of all people. Our work is grounded in the realities of those who most lack economic, social and political power


WGNRR is deeply concerned about the sentence charged to Instar Sharif Abdallah and call on Sudanese authorities to stop the execution of a woman condemned to stoning for alleged adultery.


Intisar Sharif Abdallah was sentenced by Judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo at Ombada criminal court in Omdurman on 22 April on charges of adultery, under article 146A of Sudan's criminal code. She was accused of having a relationship and becoming pregnant by a man who was not her husband. She was found guilty after an “admission of guilt” following torture and brutal beatings by her brother who instigated the case. According to reports, Intisar did not have access to a lawyer during her trial, and her accused lover remains un-convicted and walks free. Besides, Intisar, who has three children, is being detained with her newborn baby. In addition, she has a limited knowledge of Arabic and was denied a translator in court, an Amnesty International report stated.


Even when the Sudan’s criminal code criminalize adultery, Sudan has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1986, therefore is accountable to. In terms of Sudan’s duties to respect women’s human rights under this treaties- as has been stated by the Human Rights Committee to the Sudan’s government, “the imposition of the death penalty for offences which cannot be characterized as the most serious, […] as well as practices which should not be criminalised such as committing a third homosexual act and illicit sex, is incompatible with article 6 of the Covenant. […]”[1] And have recommended that “[Sudan] should ensure that the death penalty, if used at all, should be applicable only to the most serious crimes, […] and should be repealed for all other crimes.”[2]


The Human Rights Committee also expressed its concern about “the scale of values applied to punishment in the [Sudan’s] legislation. It considers that corporal punishment […] is inhuman and degrading.”[3] In this sense, order Sudan to abolish all forms of punishment that are in breach of the Covenant and to ensure that sentences are proportional to the crimes and offences committed.[4]


Although stoning is often justified in the name of Islam, the use of stoning today is wholly un-Islamic and religiously illegitimate. There is no mention of stoning in the Quran and many Muslim clerics, religious scholars, and political leaders have spoken out against the practice of stoning. According with the human rights duties, Sudan “should ensure that traditional, historical, religious or cultural attitudes are not used to justify violations of women’s right to equality before the law and to equal enjoyment of all Covenant rights”.[5]


Therefore, WGNRR view the sentencing of Intisar an egregious abuse of human rights and in violation of Sudan’s international human rights commitments under the ICCPR. It also constitutes a form of torture and is often accompanied by gender discrimination and unfair judicial processes. The sentence is also a demonstration of the scale of discrimination against women and girls in the country in all areas, but mostly regarding their sexual and reproductive rights.


Women’s GlobalWomen’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights urges Sudan Government to:

·         stop the execution of Intisar Sharif Abdallah; to overturn her stoning sentence for “adultery while married” and release her immediately and unconditionally;

·         consider that under international law the execution of people after a trial that does not meet international fair trial standards is a violation of the right to life, and the execution of nursing mothers is likewise prohibited under international law that Sudan has ratified;

·         take all the necessary measures, including the criminal code reform, to:

1.    abolish the death penalty, in line with the growing global trend and UN General Assembly resolutions

2.    decriminalize adultery and any “illicit sex” crime, in accordance with the women sexual and reproductive and the principle of non-discrimination

3.    abolish all forms of corporal punishment that might constitute torture as stoning

4.    ensure that sentences are proportional to the crimes and offences committed


We believe it’s time for Sudanese women to live a life without violence and discrimination, and are sure you will take necessary measures to ensure fulfilment of Instar’s rights in accordance with the international treaties and human rights standards that Sudan has committed to.






Kathy Mulville

Executive Director

Human Rights Committe, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding Observations ( The Sudan),  CCPR/C/SDN/CO/3, 29 August 2007, parr. 19.


[3]Ibidem, parr. 10.


[5]Human Rights Committe, General Comment No. 28: Equality of rights between men and women (article 3), CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10, 29 March 2000, parr. 5.