Political Crime in Colonial Sudan During the Dual Rule of Britain and Egypt

PhD Project

The history of colonial criminal law as applied by the various colonizing powers in Africa is a rather obscure subject, which due to its complex nature has not yet been covered in the literature. Nevertheless, the importance of the subject becomes more evident in research that tries to infer the intentions of the colonizers through their written laws, especially the so-called political crimes – acts placed under symbolic sanctions that reveal the arbitrariness of the legal system by their very nature. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Sudan had a unique status: it was co-ruled by Egypt and the British Empire, while its criminal law was being influenced by the Ottoman Empire and Sharia Law.

Therefore, political crime cases in colonial Sudan offer a wide variety of complicated patterns which, once they are analyzed and understood, are instrumental to carrying out a comprehensive study on the criminal law in Africa. In my work, I undertake a comparative analysis of articles related to political crimes in different penal codes applied in Sudan and an investigation of the connectivities and disconnectivities between these penal codes. Investigating and interpreting relevant legislation and court records will achieve a greater understanding of the intentions of the various colonizing powers, offer a closer definition of what constitutes a political crime, and help close this gap in the literature.

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