Sudan: Court-Ordered Amputations Cause Stir Among Rights Groups

In Khartoum, Sudan, a court ordered the amputation of a man’s hand and foot. (Google Images)

written by Kaitlin Higgins

Ulf Laessing of Reuters is reporting that a court in Khartoum, Sudan ordered the amputation of a convicted robber’s hand and foot on Feb. 14. Human rights organizations have denounced the act, saying it violates basic human rights under the prohibition of torture. While other punishments under Sharia (Islamic law), such as flogging, are still carried out today, amputation has, until now, not been used since the 1980s.

Laessing writes:

The al-Sudani daily said a state court had convicted [Adam al-] Muthna of firing on a car with an assault rifle in the Sharaf area in March 2006 to force it to stop and then stole 1,000 Sudanese pounds ($228) from its passengers. It said Sudan’s constitutional court upheld the conviction.

Officials at the justice ministry, the judiciary headquarters in Khartoum and the constitutional court all declined to comment on the amputation.

Kamal al-Jazouli, a Sudanese lawyer and human rights activist, said the government apparently wanted to intimidate people with the amputation at a time of dissent over galloping inflation and corruption.

Sudan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1986, though they have never ratified the convention. However, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Sudan does have legal obligations to abstain from such treatment.

According to Human Rights Watch:

In the case of Doebbler v Sudan, concerning the use of flogging as a punishment in Sudan, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled that: “there is no right for the government of a country to apply physical violence to individuals for offences. Such a right would be tantamount to sanctioning State sponsored torture,” contrary to article 5 of the African Charter.

Read more at Reuters and Human Rights Watch.

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