Pregnant and Raped: Ethiopian Woman Languishing in Sudanese Jail Now Faces Death Penalty

In August, near Khartoum, Sudan, a pregnant 18 year old Ethiopian immigrant in search of housing was lured into an empty flat by seven men. She was held against her will and subjected to a vicious gang-rape. They recorded the assault, and upon letting her go, threatened her with death if she ever came forward.

The video of the assault went viral on Whatsapp and in January she was arrested, now in her third trimester, and thrown in prison for indecent behavior and engaging in pornographic material. She petitioned the Attorney General of Sudan to have her rape case heard, but he denied it. She has petitioned for her bail, on account of her health, but the Attorney General denied that too, twice. 

Now nine months pregnant she sleeps in a bare concrete cell without a mattress awaiting her trial, and denied the justice of holding her attackers accountable for their crimes against her. 

Please send this message to the Attorney General that the world is watching.

We demand this woman be bailed out and treated to psychosocial care and medical care immediately. 

Your Excellency,

We are calling on you to drop charges against the pregnant Ethiopian woman you’ve jailed on articles 153 and 154 of Sudan’s penal code. At nine months pregnant, she is in need of medical and psychosocial care immediately. As she was given no choice or agency in the creation and proliferation of the video on Whatsapp, holding her accountable for its existence is a terrible miscarriage of justice. Now that all seven attackers are within custody, granting bail so she can give birth in a safe environment is imperative.

Furthermore we call on you to better regulate who you arrest for indecent behavior. It is absolutely abhorrent to further penalize women for attacks violent men bring against them. All women, including the pregnant young woman currently in your custody, should be allowed to face their attackers in court. To stand in the way of such justice is to show woman in Sudan that their government prefers to punish them, rather than those that actually perpetrated the crime.

Free this woman immediately and help her to the medical care she desperately needs.

Yours Sincerely,

Update #25 years ago
Her trial has concluded and on Sunday she was finally released from prison! While found guilty of indecency she was fined 900USD and released. She will not be able to pursue a rape case thanks to double jeopardy laws. She also has to deal with new anti-immigration charges that complicate her current situation. However, she is out. So let's celebrate that. Updates will arrive as hey occur.
Update #15 years ago
The woman has been charged with 2 more counts in her criminal trial, which is now underway. The new charges are immensely serious, and include prostitution and adultery, punishable by death. Further, if her trial concludes the evidence used in this case will be inadmissible for a rape case because in Sudanese law the evidence and facts used in once a case concludes cannot be used again in a new trial. Send this notice to the Sudanese government that the world is watching.
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