Christian Couple in Sudan Facing 100 Lashes for “Adultery” After Marriage Annulled Over Their Conversion

Photo by Yusuf Yassir on Unsplash

A Sudanese couple who converted to Christianity from Islam are facing a sentence of 100 lashes for “adultery” after their marriage was dissolved due to the husband’s initial conversion.

Morning Star News reported that Hamouda Tia Kafi, 34, and Hamad Shukralah, 25, were married in 2016 but a court annulled their marriage under sharia law after Kafi converted to Christianity in 2018.

The couple has two children.

At the time, Kafi’s conversion was punishable by death as apostasy. In 2020, Sudan decriminalized apostasy after the previous Islamist regime was overthrown and the following year, Shukralah also accepted Christ and returned to her husband and their children.

It was at this point that Shukralah pursued adultery charges based on Sudan’s criminal code due to the previously annulled marriage.

In August, the couple was arrested and held for four days before being bailed out.

“The court has interrogated the couple after two of the witnesses told the court that the marriage between the couple is illegal, and as a result they are accused of adultery under Article 146, but I told the court that the marriage is legal,” their unnamed attorney told Morning Star News.

There is a trial for the couple scheduled on May 12. The sentence for adultery between unmarried people under Sudan’s criminal code calls for flogging, while adultery with a married person calls for death by stoning.

Sudan ranks number 13 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of nations where it is most difficult to be a Christian, yet was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern in 2019 and placed on a watch list. In 2020, however, it was removed from the watchlist. It had previously been designated as a CPC since 1999.

Although the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 a transitional government managed to undo some of the country’s sharia provisions, Christians now fear that the leaders installed following a 2021 coup will revive the harshest aspects of the Islamic law, Morning Star News noted.

Christians make up just 4.5% of Sudan’s population, which is otherwise predominantly Muslim and in which national identity is closely linked to Islamic values and apostasy is distinctly taboo.

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