Nigerian star gets 40 lashes for consuming alcohol

KHARTOUM: A Nigerian football star who plays for a Sudanese club has been sentenced to 40 lashes for having consumed alcohol, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

Stephen Worgu, 20, who plays for first division outfit al-Merreikh of Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, was found guilty on Tuesday of drinking alcohol and driving under the influence.

An east Khartoum court condemned the young footballer to 40 lashes and ordered him to pay a fine of 50 Sudanese pounds (US$20) for the alcohol consumption and 200 Sudanese pounds (US$80) for driving under the influence.

Worgu, who signed a contract with al-Merreikh in 2008, had been apprehended in the Sudanese capital on Aug 21.

Article 78 of the penal code forbids alcohol consumption.

“It’s not 100% certain that he is guilty,” a club official said, adding that Worgu’s lawyer had already launched an appeal.

“I am finding it hard to adapt (in Sudan).

“It’s a different culture, different religion, different language, everything,” Worgu told the BBC in April.

“They have this Syariah law, and it’s really affecting me also, because you don’t feel free to do the things you need to do.”

In Sudan, women can be sentenced to 40 lashes under the penal code for “indecent acts, acts which violate public morality or wearing indecent clothes.”

Journalist-turned-activist Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who was sentenced after wearing trousers, is currently waging a campaign to have that law reversed. — AFP

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