30 July 2018

Sudanese Woman Activist Faces Death Sentence

Khartoum — A prominent Sudanese rights activist opposed to government's morality laws criminalising "indecent dressing" is facing a death sentence following trumped up charges of crimes against the state.

Police arrested Wini Omer, a frequent target for prosecution by authorities, in the capital Khartoum on International Human Rights Day in December 10 for allegedly wearing "inappropriate" clothes.

Courts initially dismissed the state's charges concluding her skirt, scarf and blouse were not indecent costumes.

Earlier this year, police again arrested Omer and some colleagues at her apartment under vague allegations of prostitution. They were later released under stringent bail conditions.

Last week, Omer and her family approached the prosecutor's office to seek an update on the case. This led to her arrest and the announcement of additional charges against her, including crimes against the state.

Such crimes carry capital punishment.

Human Rights advocate, Jehanne Henry, bemoaned this was not the first instance of Sudan using trumped-up charges against activists to intimidate them.

She said the government of President Omal al-Bashir was using tactics including morality codes and the draconian national security laws to silence rights defenders, including women.

Omer's human rights activism encompasses child protection, sexual violence prevention, ending female genital mutilation and eliminating child marriage.

The government in the northeastern African country has a tainted human rights record. The International Criminal Court has twice issued a warrant for the arrest of al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in the western Darfur.

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