The Khartoum regime in Sudan has been engaged for some time in what has widely been described as a “charm offensive,” seeking from Western nations their participation in oil development and other economic projects. But just how “charming” is the National Islamic Front regime? Recently confirmed reports on brutal penal practices at Kobar prison in Khartoum give a suggestive answer. On Thursday, January 25 and Saturday, January 27, 2001, Ibrahim Gumai, Omer Salim, Salih Omer, Abakar Jalab, and Dafa Alla Mowloudi each had his right hand and left foot amputated.
Eric Reeves [January 31, 2001]
Northampton, MA 01063
The recent brutal flogging of a young girl in Nigeria garnered a great deal of Western media attention—as it certainly should have. But what about Sudan, and specifically the recently resumed practice of so-called “cross amputation”—the amputation, as part of penal practice, of both the right hand and left foot of a human being? Is such gristly savagery to be accepted because it has been sanctioned as appropriate under the Khartoum regime’s version of sharia (Islamic law)? Must our revulsion at such cruel and barbaric punishment give way to some mindless acceptance of what passes for “cultural relativism”? Is our sickened horror somehow to be silenced because these practices have been sanctioned by a vicious regime that relentlessly abuses human rights, and the meaning of Islam?
What legitimacy—legal or otherwise—does the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum enjoy, such that their penal prerogatives go unchallenged by the international news media? This regime came to power by military coup in June of 1989, deposing an elected government, and aborting a nascent peace agreement that might have halted Sudan’s immensely destructive civil war.
Subsequently they have waged war by means of engineered famine, the relentless bombing of civilian and humanitarian targets in the south of the country, and brutal scorched-earth warfare. Are these the credentials that justify the imposition of “cross amputation” on the 19 other men presently awaiting just this fate in Kobar prison?
Is a regime that deliberately bombs schools, hospitals, churches, and humanitarian relief in any position to claim that it understands the ethical dimensions of such penal practices?
Sudan is an African country of many cultures, peoples, and great religious diversity. For this very reason, the refusal of the Khartoum regime to engage meaningfully on the central issue of separating religion and state continues to obstruct peace negotiations. Can there be any doubt that the hard-liners in Khartoum—those with the most to lose should a just peace be reached—are using sharia, and in particular this especially savage form of sharia, as a means of flouting the peace process?
Certainly there can be no disputing that such punishment flies in the face of Khartoum’s international obligations, specifically with respect to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Articles 5 and 7 both declare that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The “cross amputations” of January 25 and 27 have been confirmed by several sources in Khartoum; the fate of the 19 men facing sentence has been similarly confirmed. Urgent appeals now come from the Sudan Victims of Torture Group (SVTG) and Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)/World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)/
Organizacin Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT) of Geneva. The appeal from the Sudan Victims of Torture Group is attached below.
The regime in Khartoum has exposed itself as fully as any can expect: will the world look away from the brutal barbarism they have revealed?
Sudan Victim of Torture Group (SVGT)
SVTG has received confirmed information that 5 men have had limbs amputated while 19 others are awaiting the same amputation sentence, which is derived from under Article 174 of the Criminal Act, 1991. The individuals, all men and are being held in Kober prison and according to their lawyers, all chances of appeal or national remedy have been exhausted.
On January 23, the five men from Darfour, Western Sudan and named as,
Dafa Alla Mowloudi
were checked by the doctor prior to the amputation as is “procedure” in Sudanese prison. The rights hands and left legs of these men were then amputated on Thursday 25th January and Saturday 27th January.
SVTG is deeply concerned that the Government of Sudan has once again resumed the punishment of amputation. This punishment is against the Government of Sudan’s international obligations, with regard to article 5 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states; Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states in Article 7: ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation’.
The use of amputation as a punishment is also prohibited under the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which has also been ratified by Sudan.
SVTG calls upon individual governments and the international community to exert pressure on the Government of Sudan to:
Immediately stop the inhuman practise of amputation and observe its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Abolish the use of amputation as a method of punishment, which is
enacted within the Sudanese Criminal Act 1991.
Ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all prisoners in
Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards, particularly the Convention Against Torture, which has been ratified by Sudan.
SVTG is international human rights organisation established in the UK in 1993. If you have any questions about this or any other SVTG information, please contact us:
The Park Business Centre
Kilburn Park Road
London NW6 5LF
Tel: 020 7625 8055
Fax: 020 7372 2656
Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Organizacin Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
8 rue du Vieux-Billard
Case postale 21
CH-1211 Geneve 8
Tel. : 0041 22 809 49 39
Fax : 0041 22 809 49 29
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