- For the first time in decades, non-Muslims would be allowed to drink alcohol.
- Converting from Islam to another religion is no longer considered a crime.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed in Sudan since last Friday.
Nasruddin Abdul Bari, the Minister of Justice of the Provisional Government of Sudan, announced in a speech on state television that changes have been made to the strict Islamic, Sharia laws of the country, and that reform of Sudan’s legal system were underway.
He stressed that all laws violating human rights in the country will be repealed. Sudan’s Justice Minister said that for the first time in decades, non-Muslims would be allowed to drink alcohol. However, they would be allowed to do so on the condition that they are “not to disturb the peace,” and not to drink alcohol in public places.
The majority of Sudanese are Muslim, but a significant minority of the country’s population are Christians or followers of other religions. Drinking alcohol, however, is still forbidden for Muslims in Sudan. Other amendments to Sudanese law include the abolition of flogging in public places. During the reign of Omar al-Bashir, this punishment was carried out in public.
Law on Apostasy Repealed
Abdul Bari also stated that leaving the religion, from Islam to any other religion, is no longer considered a crime, and there is no punishment. In the past, if a Muslim converted to another religion in Sudan, he or she could be sentenced to death.
“No one has the right to call anyone or any group a disbeliever,” said Sudan’s Justice Minister He noted that otherwise, “this threatens the security of society and leads to retaliatory killings.”
Abdul Bari is one of the ministers of Sudan’s transitional government, which was established a year ago, after the overthrow of the lengthy, dictatorial government of Omar al-Bashir.
The Constitution of Sudan’s transitional government, which has been in power for three years, removes the definition of Sudan as an Islamic state.
Prohibition of FGM
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed in Sudan since last Friday, and those who do so will be punished. Under new Sudanese law, those who circumcise girls are sentenced to up to three years in prison and a fine. Hospitals or other institutions will also be at risk of closure if this is done.
Sudan’s Justice Minister in Khartoum said the move, which has long roots, tramples on women’s dignity. Circumcision, in the most severe form, of which the girl’s clitoris is cut, is often performed without anesthesia and in unsanitary conditions. It can lead to organ failure, and in many cases, to physical, mental, and sexual problems, and even death of girls.
The Effort to Ban FGM in Sudan
Eight months ago, laws restricting women’s dress and behavior were repealed in connection with the repeal of restrictive sentences for women in Sudan. According to the Sudanese Minister of Justice, the new laws also do not require Sudanese women to obtain permission from their husbands to travel alone or with their children.
Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s former dictator, who chose Islamic law for the country’s legal and judicial system, was ousted in the spring of last year, following fierce popular protests after 30 years.
The Sudanese Minister of Justice also stressed that the transitional government is considering the International Court of Justice’s request for the extradition of Omar al-Bashir. The former Sudanese dictator has been indicted by the court for war crimes and genocide in Darfur. About 300,000 people lost their lives in the Darfur wars.