10 December 2017

Sudan: Court to Try 24 Women for Wearing Trousers

Photo: The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

Khartoum — Twenty-four women will be tried in a district court in Khartoum on Sunday for 'wearing inappropriate clothing'. Public order police stormed a party on Wednesday evening, where the girls and women were wearing trousers.

The party took place in El Mamoura, south of Khartoum, when the public order police appeared. The session is scheduled to be held in El Shargi District Court.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, one of the leaders of the No Suppression for Women Initiative, Amira Osman said that the community security prosecution has charged the women under Article 152 of the Criminal Code.

She expressed her indignation at the raid. "The party took place in a closed hall in a building in El Mamoura. The girls were arrested for wearing trousers, despite obtaining a permit from the authorities."

Osman appealed to activists and human rights defenders to attend the trial on Sunday. The Public Order Act should be repealed, she added. "It violates women's rights."

'Inappropriate dress'

Many women have been tried under Article 152. It is applied to "Whoever does in a public place an indecent act or an act contrary to public morals, or wears an obscene outfit, or contrary to public morals, or causing an annoyance to public feelings shall be punished with flogging, which may not exceed forty lashes or with fine or with both."

Last August, Sudan's Public Order Court has dismissed charges against two girls, accused of wearing disgraceful dress, citing a lack of evidence by the police and because the judge concluded that "trousers are not disgraceful".

Most times when women are tried, however, a conviction follows. The crime is punishable by up to 40 lashes and a fine.

Last month in Northern State, 83 youths and students were convicted to be shaved in public for their "odd shaving and wearing inappropriate uniforms", as the city court ruled.

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