Stoned to Death – On June 26 in Sudan, Maryam Alsyed Tiyrab was convicted and sentenced to execution by stoning on a charge of adultery, a violation of Islamic law.
Tiyrab, 20, a citizen of Sudan, was accused of adultery, a crime classified as Hudud in the Islamic law system. Hudud crimes include highway robbery, apostasy, illicit sexual intercourse and drinking alcohol, and may be punished by the amputation of hands and feet, flogging and even death. Although the last sentence of death by stoning in Sudan was overturned by the Sudanese High Court, the penalty is still permitted by law.
The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) stated, “The application of the death penalty by stoning for the crime of adultery is a grave violation of international law, including the right to life and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” Further, they report that Tiyrab was tried without representation of a lawyer, the trial was held without a formal complaint from the police and that her “confession” was illegally obtained.
Stoning is torture per the UN Convention Against Torture, which Sudan ratified August 10, 2021, but no legal reforms to remove stoning from the Sudanese criminal codes have been ratified. In July 2020, progress was made under a transitional government, including a repeal of flogging from the criminal codes. But the prime minister and other leaders at that time were removed by a military coup d’etat on October 25, 2021—the 2nd time in the past four years that Sudan’s head of state has been overthrown.
“The death by stoning case is a reminder that the criminal law reforms during the transition [government] were not complete, and that such harsh, archaic punishments are still officially on the books,” stated human rights lawyer and Human Rights Watch’s Sudan researcher Jehanne Henry.
The head of Sudan’s sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, stated on July 4, 2022, that he intends to dissolve the sovereign council and allow for talks of civilian government to resume in Sudan. But when, and whether this will have an effect for Tiyrab, remains to be seen.
ACJPS, based in Uganda and formed in 2009, has a mission of creating a Sudan committed to all human rights, the rule of law, and peace, in which the rights and freedoms of the individual are honored and where all persons and groups are granted their rights to non-discrimination, equality and justice.