Fears are mounting for a woman due to be stoned to death after being convicted of adultery in Sudan.
Campaigners say the 20-year-old did not get a fair trial and should be freed while a government official called the trial “a joke.”
Human rights groups said she was not allowed to speak to a lawyer while being held in custody and was not even told the charges against her.
But efforts to prevent her from facing the brutal death sentence have been challenging due to the lack of government ministers in the country.
Her trial follows a military coup last year when General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took control of the Government.
The young woman was found guilty of adultery by a court in Kosti city in June after being accused by her husband.
Following her appeal, a decision is now awaited from the court while an official told the BBC “we don’t have a minister who can intervene to demand her release.”
The Sudanese woman had been living with her family after separating from her husband in 2020. He then accused her of adultery one year later.
Sulaima Ishaq, who leads Sudan’s Violence Against Women Unit at the Ministry of Social Development, said that the trial was flawed.
She told the BBC how she had warned officials in the capital Khartoum but that it was difficult to make a difference due to an absence of ministers.
Mossaad Mohamed Ali, executive director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, said there is also evidence to suggest the woman was “illegally forced into signing a confession by the police.”
It is hoped by the woman’s lawyer that the court will now “do the right thing” and release her after her appeal.
The death penalty is still used in Sudan under Islamic law for some crimes stated by Allah in the Quran, such as adultery and theft.
In Sudan, these crimes can also be punishable by flogging which involves a person’s hands and feet being amputated, stoning and hanging.
In 2015, the government pledges to remove its punishment of death by stoning but human rights groups say this has not been actioned.
Ms Ishaq said: “Even the most conservative politicians are against stoning but things take a lot of time to change here and then feed through to the courts, and women are the ones who suffer.”
The last known person who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery was a young mum named Intisar El Sherif Abdalla, according to campaigners.
But she was released from custody in 2012 along with her four-month-old baby after a campaign by Amnesty International and Siha.