KHARTOUM (Sudannow) - The norm in criminal cases is to conduct an autopsy to see whether the deceased had died of natural causes or there was a crime. But it is unusual to exhume a body and conduct a forensic test on it to verify whether the deceased was innocent from an offense or not.
The incident related here was one of the most intricate legal cases seen by the Sudanese judiciary.
The story, related by Attorney and Law Professor Hazim Awadelkareem Mohammad al-Haj, says that in the early 1990s a young man living in one of the villages of the Northern State killed his sister who was married to a man working outside the country because he suspected that she was impregnated by a man other than her husband. According to the story the husband had left the country just four months before the incident, and that was enough proof that the baby in her womb was his. But blinded by wrath that his sister might have committed adultery, the young man killed her and buried her body in quite a hurry, for fear of social shame. He also organized a mourning for her and thought that it was all over.
But the family was divided into two groups after the husband was back home. He, the husband, categorically disapproved of his wife’s killing even if the adultery accusation was true. He was supported in this by the kin of the deceased mother. But the relatives of the deceased father had approved the killing. Feuding inflamed between the two groups and the case was taken to court. Legal deliberations continued for months in a trial that saw wide audiences. Because of the big crowds, the judge had to move the trial to the biggest of the court’s rooms. The crowds also used to fill this room, the court yard and the neighboring road.
After lengthy deliberations, the attorney for the deceased’s defense called for an autopsy of her body and a test of the fetus’s DNA to determine paternity.
At the cemetery the medics found that most parts of body of the deceased, which was buried seven months back, had started to decompose. But a surprise came in when they found that the uterus was intact and the fetus inside did not decompose. They also found that the fetus was a boy. A complete sample was taken from the fetus and tested to find out it was completely congruent with the husband’s DNA.
Says the forensic doctor: Seven months after the body’s burial, I had just hoped to find one centimeter of the baby’s flesh. But to my surprise, God’s wisdom had wanted to prove the innocence of the deceased and kept the fetus intact.
Accordingly, the court ruled a death sentence for the accused and sent him to the gallows.
Relieved that their honor was restored, the woman’s relatives threw a big feast on the occasion. The husband also organized a simaya party for his baby (the simaya is a party organized to give a name to the newborn).
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