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Sudan Amends Penal Code Providing More Rights and Freedoms

In particular, the article for apostasy is decriminalized, non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol, and the article of the law on passports and migration, which requires a right and a visa to leave the country, is repealed.

CAIRO, July 12.  The amendments were made to the criminal code of Sudan from 1991, they will provide citizens of the country with more rights and freedoms. About this, as the Sunday newspaper Rakoba news reports , said the Minister of Justice of the country Nasreddin Abdel Bari.

In particular, he said, the article for apostasy was decriminalized in order to "guarantee freedom and the right to religion." The article of the law on passports and migration of 2015, which requires a right and a visa to leave the country, is canceled.

Non-Muslims were allowed to drink alcohol. Since 1983, Sudan has had a strict prohibition on punishing the sale and consumption of alcohol. At the end of last year, the country started talking about the decriminalization of this article. Now the criminal liability for drinking alcohol and involving Muslims in this process is excluded, however, those who practice Islam are still banned from drinking alcohol.

In addition, more freedom is provided to women. So, a ban on female circumcision is introduced - a medieval practice, which often leads to injuries and deaths of girls. Sudanese can now travel with children without previously binding permission from men from their family, some strict clothing regulations have been canceled.

At the same time, according to the minister, the country's criminal code "requires not just changes, but the development of a new criminal law, since the current code suffers from serious problems when interacting with other laws of the state."

Sharia standards in Sudan
Since 1983, Sudan has been living in accordance with Sharia (Islamic law). Introduced under Jaafar Nimeiri, it was preserved by Omar al-Bashir who came to power in 1989. After the separation of the predominantly Christian south from the north in 2011, non-Muslims in Sudan, according to the UN, make up only 3% of the population and live mainly in Khartoum and in the Nubian mountains on the border with South Sudan. Some Sudanese profess also traditional African beliefs.

Omar al-Bashir was removed from power as a result of a military coup last April. The new authorities announced a course towards democratization and liberalization of the country.

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