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Dinka Woman's Death Sentence Overturned

Emergency Court Replaces Stoning Sentence With Flogging

(March 8, 2002) -- On December 8, 2001, the criminal court in Nyala, Southern Darfur, Sudan, summarily sentenced Abok Alfau Akok to death by stoning for committing adultery. Abok Alfau Akok, a married woman, is a Dinka of Christian beliefs who was pregnant at the time of the sentence.

On or about February 9, 2002, the court of appeals in Southern Darfur overturned this sentence, ruling that the woman should be "reprimanded" instead of stoned to death. On February 12, the criminal court in Nyala re-sentenced Abok Alfau Akok to seventy-five lashes. This sentence was carried out immediately without counsel or the right to appeal.

By the time of the lashing, Abok Alfau Akok had given birth. She was released from jail following the lashing and is living with her relatives and caring for her infant child.

Her lawyer lodged an appeal of the death sentence on December 11, 2001 that led to its overturning. The same lawyer has now initiated an appeal of the Nyala criminal court sentence, on the grounds that the immediate execution of the flogging sentence prevented Abok from seeking legal advice or exercising any right of appeal.

Flogging is a cruel and inhuman punishment that violates Sudan's international law obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Abok Alfau Akok's rights to a fair trial and to appeal the criminal court's decision have been violated by the Nyala criminal court's sentence and flogging on February 12, 2002.

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