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Sudan opposition leader defends women rights

January 24 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Hassan El Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party (file photo)
Hassan El Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party (file photo)

The leader of the Popular Congress Party has made controversial comments about Islamic laws that deal with several offences, such as adultery and apostasy.

Dr Hassan El Turabi, the leader of the opposition party, said that the stoning punishment for zina (adultery) does not exist in the Qur'an, and is not acknowledged by Islam. The PCP leader said this while speaking at a ceremony in which he was honored by women in political parties in Khartoum on Thursday. 

Turabi added that the stoning of an adulterer or an adulteress came to Islam from another religion. He called for the adoption of lashing instead of stoning.

The opposition leader went on defending the right of women to marry non-Muslims. This is a crime under the Muslim Criminal Act of 1991: apostasy, carrying the death penalty. He also defended the woman’s right to be a leader (imam) in prayers. "Women keep balance in the public life, and the testimony of a woman is equal to that of men... The Qur'an did not differentiate men from women."

After these comments, Turabi called on women to initiate campaigns that surpass politics to trade, culture, thought, development, poetry, sports and "all walks of life". "Women should pressure on men so as to obtain their absolute rights."

A man or woman who has intercourse outside of marriage is convicted by Article 145 (adultery) to death by stoning, or in the case both do not have any lawful bonds with others, a hundred lashes.

In 2014, Turabi condemned the death penalty issued against a Christian woman for apostasy as a violation of Islamic principles.

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