Torture in an Historical Context: Notes from Sudan
Tracing political torture in Sudan to pre-Islamist eras and up to its contemporary uses, Elgadi underscores the ways in which Islamist regimes have invoked religious law to justify torture. This historical background provides the context for Elgadi’s narrative of incarceration and torture in one of Omar al-Bashir’s “Ghost House” detention centers in Khartoum. Set up to perversely mimic a khalwa, or religious school, the detention center was designed to enforce particular Islamic doctrines and to quash political and human rights opposition to the government. Elgadi concludes that the political use of torture might galvanize its opposition, spurring public opposition against abusive, pseudo-religious regimes, and generating a productive critique of religious penal codes that violate fundamental human rights.