I have just been informed that a Dutch MP of the Socialist Party, Harry van Bommel, has successfully submitted a resolution in the Dutch parliament calling for the Dutch government to instigate an initiative during the 67th UN General Assembly with the goal of an international condemnation and prohibition of stoning. The resolution has been accepted.
Clearly, we need other parliaments doing the same as we need to end stoning now.
The lives of tens of women and men depend on it.
In Iran, at least 22 people await death by stoning sentences.
In Sudan, Intisar Sharief Abdala was sentenced to death by stoning. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies says of her case:
On 22 April 2012, judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo sentenced Intisar Sharief Abdala to death by stoning and ordered the case file to be sent to the high court for the confirmation of the sentence subsequent to a lapse of appeal period. The case was initially put before the court alongside two others accused: Lutfi Abu-Alros Jaeo and Alrisala Khamis.
The court acquitted the second accused for insufficient evidence against him; the third accused recently killed in a car accident. All three were illiterate and stated in the police and trial record that they don’t know to write or read.
Intisar is believed to be 20 years old, although some reports state that she is a minor. [Human Rights Watch says she is under 18, is imprisoned with her 5 month old baby and her feet shackled.]
According to Intisar’s lawyer and others human rights organisations that have interviewed her in the prison, she reportedly does not know what stoning is comprised of. She stated that she understood stoning as people throwing stones at her and afterwards she will be free. She also thought this is the best way to seek a divorce from her husband who she said she tried to divorce in the past but failed.
Intisar was subjected to different kind of pressures and circumstances failed her to understand the whole legal proceeding she is confronted with as she was also assaulted by her brother in connection to the case and he coerced her to confess. It is clear that the poverty, her illiteracy and her close family have all played a part in her sentencing. Her sister who instigated the case against her said she was aimed at putting an end to her behaviour of breaking the family rules and believed that her sentence would be 100 lashes. Later when she knew the decision and the meaning of stoning she lodged an appeal against the decision claiming that her sister is innocent.
No legal consultation was provided to the accused. The court did not inform her of the nature of the accusation and the value of her confession as evidence in her conviction.
Arabic is not Intisar’s first language and she was not provided with interpretation throughout the police and court proceedings. Owing to these factors it’s likely that Intisar doesn’t understand the prosecution proceedings and the nature of accusations she is facing.
Intisar’s case like that of so many others is not just a condemnation of the brutal punishment of stoning which is part of Sharia’s criminal law, but of women’s abysmal status in society at large and her position in the family, which is institutionalised by Sharia’s family code – seen of course as ‘religious freedom’ here in Britain…
Sign petitions against Intisar’s sentence. Do it today! Here are some petitions:
(Sudan information via Nahla Mahmoud)