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Cablegate: Sudanese Head of State Endorses Sharia Law

R 231339Z DEC 90
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8499
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL
DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 13366

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY


E.O.12356: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SOCI PINS SU
SUBJECT: SUDANESE HEAD OF STATE ENDORSES SHARIA LAW

REF: A) KHARTOUM 11067, B) KHARTOUM 11182,
C) KHARTOUM 11159


1. ACCORDING TO SUDAN'S ENGLISH LANGUAGE WEEKLY "NEW
HORIZON," SUDAN'S HEAD OF STATE, GENERAL OMAR AL BASHIR,
HAS PUBLICLY ENDORSED THE 1983 SEPTEMBER LAWS. PROVIDING
FOR CORPORAL PUNISHMENT KNOWN AS "HUDUD," THE SEPTEMBER
LAWS ARE ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL ASPECTS OF
SUDANESE SOCIETY AND JURISPRUDENCE. ALTHOUGH PRECEDING
THE SEPTEMBER LAWS, JOHN GARANG'S REBELLION IN MARCH 1983
CAME IN PART AS A RESULT OF THEN PRESIDENT NIMEIRI'S
TREND TOWARD ISLAMICIZATION. HUDUD PUNISHMENTS, ALTHOUGH
HANDED DOWN, HAVE NOT BEEN IMPLEMENTED SINCE NIMEIRI'S
OVERTHROW IN 1985, AND THE ROLE OF SHARIA REMAINS A MAJOR
SYMBOL IN THE CONTINUING CIVIL WAR.

2. COMMENT: BASHIR'S ENDORSEMENT OF THE SEPTEMBER LAWS
COULD LEAD TO IMPLEMENTATION OF HUDUD PUNISHMENTS. IT
WILL CERTAINLY LEAD TO A FURTHER ESTRANGEMENT FROM THE
SOUTH (IF THAT IS POSSIBLE). IN ADDITION, BASHIR'S
ANNOUNCEMENT COULD LEAD TO DIFFICULTIES IN SUDAN'S UNITY
PLANS WITH LIBYA. DURING HIS RECENT VISIT TO KHARTOUM
QADHAFI WAS VERY CRITICAL OF SHARIA AND ALLEGEDLY
INTIMIDATED BASHIR INTO NOT ENDORSING SHARIA AT THAT TIME
(REFTELS).


O'NEILL

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