Independent News from Alternative Sources
Sudan has overhauled a law that led to rape victims being put on trial for adultery, a crime punishable by jail, flogging or even stoning.
The change comes a year after a young Ethiopian woman in Sudan was convicted of committing indecent acts after being gang-raped, a case which sparked international outrage.
Lawyers say that when a woman in Sudan reports rape it is often seen as an admission of zina – the crime of sex outside marriage.
They say the new law introduces a precise definition of rape as a penetrative sexual act involving physical or psychological force.
“In the past the law was confusing and very problematic. In most cases when a woman complained she had been raped she would be tried for adultery,” said Hikma Ahmed, a Sudanese lawyer who helped defend the Ethiopian woman.
“This amendment is very helpful for rape victims or survivors seeking justice, and it is also helpful for us lawyers who are supporting these women in court.”
The change follows more than a decade of campaigning by local and international rights organisations.