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Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on (a) the recent increase in the use of the death penalty in Sudan, with particular reference to the Darfur region and (b) the use of special courts to try people under sharia. [111346]

We are concerned about the use of the death penalty in Sudan. On 26 April 2003 the Minister of Justice confirmed reports that the special courts in Darfur had been abolished. Instructions had been given that in future all trials should be conducted according to normal procedures, including defence lawyers and no military judges. Outstanding death sentences, imposed by the special courts, would be reviewed individually by the appeal court.