Skip to content

Apostasy and Adultery Trials Take Sudan Back to Dark Days

Signs are mounting that Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s army is reversing the democratic gains of the 2019 uprising, and activists are calling it a full-blown counter-revolution.

Sudanese women demonstrate against security forces’ use of violence against anti-coup protesters in the city of Omdurman, Sudan, on June 25.

Sudanese women demonstrate against security forces’ use of violence against anti-coup protesters in the city of Omdurman, Sudan, on June 25.

Photographer: Marwan Ali/AP

The tiny congregation was deep in prayer when armed officers stormed their church. Four men, converts to Christianity from Islam, were brought to a local police station. All were charged with apostasy, which can carry the death penalty. 

Such oppression is becoming more prevalent in Sudan, a country that was supposed to have put years of harsh Islamist rule behind it. This summer has also seen authorities in a southern state impose a death-by-stoning sentence for adultery and the emergence of a puritanical police force that is reinforcing laws that banned women from wearing trousers and has cracked down on alcohol dealers in the capital, Khartoum.