Khartoum, Sudan - Four human rights bodies have called for an immediate end to the practice in which doctors in Sudan perform amputations on court orders. In a joint statement, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), Human Rights Watch, REDRESS and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) called on Sudanese leaders and international actors to condemn the practice immediately, and to urge swift reform of Sudanese laws in conformity with Sudan’s international human rights commitments.
According to the human rights organisations, credible sources in Sudan have reported that government doctors amputated a man’s right hand and left foot by court order in Khartoum on 14 Feb. 2013, in violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishments.
They said medical doctors at the Sudanese Ministry of Interior’s Al Rebat Hospital carried out what is called cross-amputation on 30-year-old Adam Al-Muthna, carrying out a sentence for an armed robbery conviction.
“Cross amputation is a form of state-sponsored torture,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, senior medical advisor at Physicians for Human Rights. “The complicity of medical personnel in such practices represents a gross contravention of the UN Principles of Medical Ethics for health personnel, particularly medical doctors who engage, actively or passively, in acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The organisations said physicians and other health professionals must hold themselves to the highest professional standards of commitment to the human rights and dignity of the people whose lives they have the privilege of serving, even under threat of harm.
Muthna was convicted of armed robbery (Haraba) under article 167 of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code in relation to an armed attack on a truck carrying passengers between North Kordofan and East Darfur in March 2006.