Sudan Carries Out Amputation Against Christian Defendant

Rights Group Says Accused Had No Legal Representation

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ISTANBUL, Turkey, MARCH 7, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Sudanese government amputated a Christian´s right hand for alleged theft in January, a further sign that the Islamic regime is applying harsh punishments against non-Muslims as well, Compass Direct reported.

Church and family sources confirmed this week that Anthony James Ladou Wani, a member of the Kakwa tribe from southern Sudan, had his right hand amputated Jan. 24. Wani had been jailed in Khartoum´s Kober Prison since May 2000, when he was convicted and sentenced for allegedly stealing spare car parts.

According to the Swiss-based World Organization Against Torture, which reported Wani´s amputation last week, Wani had no legal representation at his trial, and there was not enough evidence to convict him. «Even if it had been proved, he is a Christian. He is not a Muslim. So he should not have been punished under Islamic law,» a Khartoum relative told Compass on Tuesday.

According to Human Rights Watch, the tribunals handing down recent sentences of limb amputation are all so-called emergency courts, composed of one civil judge and two military judges. «The accused are not allowed legal representation and are given only a week to appeal to the district chief justice,» the New York-based advocacy group said in a Feb. 1 report.

At least four Muslim defendants in Northern and Southern Darfur states have been identified who also received amputation sentences during December, two of them to cross amputation (severing of the right hand and left foot).

The Sudanese government officially exempts the 10 southern states, where most of the population is non-Muslim, from parts of Islamic law permitting the physical punishments of lashing, amputation and stoning. However, Islamic law is applied to all residents of the northern states, regardless of their religion.

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