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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 98 09:18:54 CST
From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: !*Update on Sudan’s Convicted Prostitutes
Article: 25100


Update On The Campaign To Save 4 Convicted Prostitutes

1. On Nov. 19, 1997, Abdelbasit Sabdrat, the Minister of Jusice and Attorney General in the Sudan informed the country’s law- makers that 4 women had been sentenced to death for engaging in prostitution and that the sentence would be carried out on Dec. 15, if the Appealate Court didn’t reverse the sentence. The news of the imminent execution has triggered off a wave of shock and indignation among human rights advocates around the globe. Ironically, the death sentence was scheduled to be executed on Dec. 10, 1997, a day internationally celeberated as Human Rights Day.

2. A group of Sudanese and non-Sudanese human rights activists joined hands to launch a campaign on behalf of the four prostitutes, in particular, and to draw woldwide attention to the plight of human rights in the Sudan. The group issued a memorandum to the UN, the OAU, the Arab Bar-Association, Sudan Human Rights Orgaization, Amnesty Inernational, the European Union, the government of the Sudan, the Department of the State (USA) and to the international press.

3. The memorandum received world-wide support from every corner. It is gratifying to acknowledge the unequivocal support, the memo has received from the Hman Rights Watch and the European Union in addition to hundreds of NGOs, trade unions and individuals. The campaign received literally world-wide support. We take this opportunity to thank the 120,000 South African Municipal Workers’ Union who have given this campaign tremendous moral and political support.

4. The memorandum was signed until this date by organizations and individuals from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cameroun, Canada, Cech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA.

5. We continue to receive messages of support, inquiries about the fate of the 4 women and how people could help to prevent similar atrocities from taking place. Those familiar with the way how the flow of information to and from the Sudan is hampered by the present government would understand the reasons for the lack of earlier update. Yet, the sentencing of the four prostitutes has had a world-wide resonance and an impact too powerful to be ignored by the the Sudan government.

6. With a sense of relief we’ve learned that the death setence against the four prostitutes was not carried out. In a letter addressed to the ambassador of the Sudan in Washington, D.C., Human Rights Watch wrote on Dec. 22, 1997: As a follow up to our letter of December 8, 1997, regarding the rights of women, we have learned that some officials of your government have made the presentation, in private meetings, that the death sentence given to the four prostitutes-as announced in mid-November by the Minster of Justice- were not carried out and will remain suspended for an undetermined time.

7. The stay of execution reproted by Human Rights Watch is certainly welcome news. Yet, the lives of the four convicted prostitutes remain in serious peril. We need to keep this campaign alive until the four women are exhonerated and the case against them quashed altogether so that it is never referred to as a precedent in the Sudanese criminal law. We demand, all the facts pertaining to this case be made public.

8. On a final note and on behalf of Magda Mohd Ahmed, Laura Nyantung Beny, Dr. Sondra Hale, Asma Halim, we extend our profound gratitude to all those individuals and orgaizations that have responded swiftly and wholeheartedly to our plea for international solidarity. It is a personal desire to express our indebtedness to Jemera Rone of Human Rights Watch, Dr. Hamouda Fathelrahman of the Sudan Human Rights Organization, Cairo Chapter, the SPLM representative in Sweden, Cheryl, a prostitutes’ rights activist in England and Brasil, the European Union, the World Organiztion Against Torture and women activists Laura Agustin, Carin Benniger and Anne-Laurence lacrix. Please, let’s build on our partial success with the stay of execution to fight for the removal of this grave injustice on four Sudanese women.