Sudanese Minister of Justice Nasr al-Din Abdel-Bari Saturday gave more details about the Miscellaneous Amendments Act as he confirmed that it abolishes apostasy and protect the non-Muslims’ right to drink alcohol.
The controversial criminal code article on the apostasy was contested by local and international human rights groups as it was in clear violation of the 2005 constitution which grants the freedom of religious creed and worship.Speaking at a TV talk show, the minister said the new amendments cancelled repealed the apostasy, allowed non-Muslims to drink alcohol and granting the woman the right to travel abroad and to take her children with her without needing to produce the consent of the husband, a matter that had been forbidden under the law.
These repealed articles are part of measures restricting freedoms in Sudan introduced during the past 30 years by the regime of ousted president Omer al-Bashir.
Justice Minister said that the amendments aimed to align laws with the Constitutional Declaration governing the transitional period and to establish freedoms and ensure the rule of law without discrimination.
To explain the delay in the promulgation since its approval last April he explained that there were some details they had to add following some comment on by the Sovereign Council.
« The Miscellaneous Amendments Act was passed in April and the Sovereign Council had no objection to it but comments the Ministry of Justice sought to include in a manner that does not undermine the law, » he said.
The Constitutional Declaration granted legislative powers to a joint meeting between the Sovereign and Council of Ministers, pending the formation of the Legislative Council.
The Minister also stressed that the new law replaced the apostasy with an article banning the takfir or declaring a fellow Muslim guilty of apostasy.
« The takfir of others became a threat to the security and safety of society, » he stressed.
Abdel-Bari admitted that the implementation of these amendments will face difficulties, but pointed out that the prosecution can play an important role in this respect. Also, he advised those who are accused of apostasy to resort to justice.
He further said they are considering abolishing the Personal Status Law to protect women’s rights.
For the alcohol, the minister acknowledged the implementation will face challenges when a Muslim and non-Muslim found drinking together adding the latter may be charged with complicity.
« We only sought to guarantee non-Muslims their rights, » he further added.