In a controversial ruling, a Sudanese court convicted a teenage gang-rape victim of "indecent acts."
The 18-year-old Ethiopian woman was attacked by seven men and gang-raped in the capital, Khartoum, in August 2013, according to Radio Dabanga. She was three months pregnant at the time. The victim and perpetrators were not arrested until a video of the sexual assault was posted on social media in January.
The teen was initially charged with adultery for her role in the incident, but the court later convicted her of "indecent acts," The Guardian reports. She was fined 5,000 Sudanese pounds (about $870) and received a suspended one-month jail sentence due to her pregnancy, according to BBC News.
Of the seven men implicated in the assault, six received convictions ranging from adultery to distributing indecent material and received sentences of lashes; one man was set free due to insufficient evidence.
Activists are criticizing the recent court ruling for the message it sends to rape victims.
"This verdict reflects the substantial challenges in enabling victims of sexual violence to pursue justice," Hala Elkarib, a regional director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, said in a statement. "It will also serve to prevent future victims from speaking out and seeking assistance and entrenches a culture of impunity for perpetrators.”
The victim had been looking for a new home when she was lured to an empty property and gang-raped. She was found by a police officer and taken into a local station. However, no complaint was filed because it was a public holiday.
When the woman later tried to file a complaint of rape, she was prohibited due to her involvement in the criminal investigation.