Sudan commits persist, egregious and systematic violations of freedom of thought and expression; religious discrimination is prevalent, apostasy and blasphemy are most severely penalized, and the application of public order laws allowing floggings for undefined acts of “indecency” and “immorality”.
The 1991 Criminal Code allows for floggings for undefined honour-based offences, reputation and public morality issues. Public order laws further implement the 1991 Criminal Code’s prohibitions, where religiously-grounded morality laws and corporal punishments are imposed through the Public Order Regime with violations being subject to lashes or a fine, or both.
Blasphemy is criminalised; it can be punished by six-months’ imprisonment, flogging or a fine, or both. In practice a blasphemy conviction could constitute evidence of apostasy, which is punishable by death.
Apostasy or conversion to a religion other than Islam is outlawed and may be punishable with the death penalty. By law, a person convicted of conversion has an opportunity to recant. Whilst the law does not explicitly ban proselytizing, the vaguely worded apostasy law criminalizes both apostasy and acts that encourage apostasy, which could be understood to include proselytization and blasphemy.
The death sentence of Christian woman, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, provided the most well-publicised case of apostasy in 2014. She had been given a death sentence on charges of apostasy. She was released after international outcry on the issue.