SUDAN. EXECUTION STAYED FOR CONVICTED RAPISTS
November 28, 2007: two Sudanese men sentenced to die in Khartoum for raping and murdering a four year old girl escaped the hangman's noose by just three minutes after winning an appeal, local media reported. Sudan's highest legal authority ordered a delay "three minutes before the scheduled hanging," wrote Al-Rai Al-Am newspaper, quoting a judge who was due to observe the execution. Lawyers for the defence managed to win the last-minute reprieve by saying the rights of their clients were not respected during a trial that saw massive media coverage and incited huge public interest. Sudan's highest legal authority must now decide whether to authorise another trial or reject the appeal and send the convicts back to the gallows.
Mutassim Khairallah, 35, and Imad Tabben, 18, were found guilty of raping and then suffocating Muram Awad Sadiq during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr last October at the end of the Ramadan fast, before dumping her body in a well.
They were sentenced to death in January by the central Khartoum criminal court, then immediately dragged out to be publicly lashed 100 times in front of hundreds of cheering onlookers, as drivers stopped their cars to watch. (Sources: thetimes.co.za, 28/11/2007)