Sudanese Police Laugh As They Flog Woman

While it’s unclear what the Sudanese woman’s supposed offense was — it could have been adultery, drinking alcohol, theft, or even wearing pants — but her punishment for breaking some aspect of northern Sudan’s sharia law was fifty-three lashes.

In a graphic video that sped across the internet, the woman is ordered to kneel and is lashed as she screams in pain, begs the policemen to stop, and at one point tries to grab the whip of one policeman. At first, the police treat the flogging as an inconvenience to themselves, saying (according to subtitles on the video) that they want to get done so they can go. As they beat the woman she wails in agony, crawling away from them on her knees crying, “Enough, enough!” and moaning for her mother. At one point in the video, a policeman notices the camera and laughingly half-covers his face, before joining in whipping the sobbing woman. (The video is very graphic, and may only be viewed by Youtube users over 18. Please view it with caution — it’s not appropriate for children, and trigger warnings apply.)

When the video first surfaced, Sudanese government officials claimed it was a piece of propaganda intended to damage Sudan’s image. In the face of growing condemnation domestically and internationally, the judiciary announced it would inquire into whether the woman’s conviction and punishment had been carried out properly.

Despite promises of official inquiry, though, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for justice for the woman or discipline for the laughing policemen. BBC News quotes President Omar al-Bashir saying, chillingly, “If she is lashed according to sharia law, there is no investigation. Why are some people ashamed? This is sharia.” Many Muslims, like Lubna Hussein, who I describe below, forcefully object to the idea that this brutal punishment is compatible with Islam — but unfortunately, the president is the one in charge.

Dozens of Women Arrested As They Protest Flogging
Reuters reports that soon after the video was released, around fifty women converged on the justice ministry holding banners and shouting “Humiliating your women is humiliating all your people!” Dozens were arrested as they sat in front of the ministry. Security also assaulted a journalist from BBC and confiscated his equipment.

After being arrested, the protesters were taken to a police station and their lawyers were not allowed in. According to Human Rights Watch, they have now been released but many have been charged with disturbing the peace and being public nuisances.

Flogging “Almost A Daily Punishment”
In Sudan, floggings are a common punishment — according to Reuters, they are administered almost daily.

This is only the latest incident of high-profile floggings under Sudan’s strict code of conduct. Last summer public order police raided a Khartoum cafe and arrested 13 women for the “public indecency” of wearing trousers. Ten of the women were publicly flogged and fined 250 Sudanese pounds, about $120, after quick summary trials. 
One, journalist Lubna Hussein, fought the charges. During her trial, police attacked dozens of women protesting outside the courthouse. After being convicted, she chose to go to jail for a time rather than pay a fine, as a way of protesting the laws. (The two other women also challenged the charges in court, but I haven’t discovered the outcome of their trials.)

In August 2010, nineteen young Muslim men were flogged after being convicted of wearing women’s clothing and make-up.

Worse To Come?
There are signs that the situation might soon become even more brutal. As the pending referendum on independence for southern Sudan approaches, the President is threatening to tighten sharia law in the North.

BBC News quotes President Omar al-Bashir saying “If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution…Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”

If the president’s version of sharia is actually implemented after the referendum, it could mean even more restrictions and harsher punishments for all who are living in northern Sudan. As the referendum draws near and it seems all but inevitable that the south will declare its independence, the Sudanese people are bracing for a potential conflagration — and now, the possibility that their lives will be more tightly controlled than ever.

Related Stories: 

Ban On Sharia Law Still in Legal Limbo

Smartphones: The New Blood Diamonds?

Divorced But Beaten: Child Brides in Afghanistan


The photo of a bullwhip was found on Wikimedia Commons. It was taken by Cgoodwin, and reused under Creative Commons Attribution License.


TERRY R7 years ago


Marjaana Y.
M Y8 years ago

what a way to spend the only life one has...

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle8 years ago

Every time a westerner equates Islam with terrorism, I stand up for Islam, that the Koran doesn't allow for brutality, but love.

Since I basicly think that all religions oppress, I'm changing my tune.

The prophet, Mohammed, and the prophet, Jesus, both called for love. Humans change these teachings into whatever will suit and advance their institutional goals. Sharia law in insane, of course. Anything in ANY religion, that divides, that categorizes people into different groups, that denies a class of people, be they women, or "untouchables", is inhuman, and not of love.

I am completely comfortable rejecting a faith-based religion as a way to live my life on earth. I was raised in the christian faith, and I do good work all my life, by living the tenets that Jesus espoused. My philosophy of life is based on what I learned as a christian child: to give, to help. But I do not believe in a god, nor that any person is the son of god. Much havoc is wrecked in the name of god and religion. People can live good lives, doing good things for others, without the institutionalized concept of religion. With a lot less hate and havoc.

Dominic C.
Dominic C8 years ago

Omar Bashir is a criminal and a torn for humanity. The US should use utilize a drone to take him down. A trial is only a waste of time.

Nancy W.
Nancy Wang8 years ago

What more can this world bear? Violence is rampant and is destroying all of us. The end needs to be near. Or maybe this is the end.

valda p.
valda p8 years ago

How degrading ,and humiliating for this poor woman,these men have no respect for women,whipping her like a dog and laughing,and it will only get worse if South Sudan wins the election.Sharia Law is not Gods law ,it is man's law,laws made by men to control their people ,especially their women.Basic tenet of the faith is that loyalty to Islam takes precedence over loyalty to any government or counryt.

Arthur Killings
Arthur Killings8 years ago

Disgusting !!!

Joy Jin
Joy Jin8 years ago

Disgusting. I can't believe that this could happen. It is sick and horrible. I'm so glad that I don't live there and I'm too scared to watch the video.

Lydia S.
Lydia S8 years ago

Craig M wrote: "Speaks volumes of the, ahem, "police" in the Sudan!"

I say, "Speaks volumes of, "ahem", Sharia and Islam ... Without those two factors, these "Daily" floggings would not be happening!

I find it interesting, that once again, Laura Smith-Gary, publishes a story which reveals very plainly, what islam is all about, and why Western Civilization MUST defend itself from the creeping Sharia & islamization we are allowing to infiltrate our free societies!


Sudan is a muslim country ... enough said!

Bee ZZ
Past Member 8 years ago

Hidious & Horrible!