Sudan: Women's Rights Activist Waad Bahjat's Defamation Case Adjourned Until Feb 25

Khartoum — The Sudanese blogger and women's rights activist Waad Bahjat, who faces a year in prison over a Facebook Live video, appeared in court for her fourth hearing at 10:00 in Khartoum yesterday. During the brief session, the case was adjourned until February 25.

The session ended within minutes because the judge refused to watch the Facebook Live video in question, which represents the main evidence.

The blogger and women's rights activist Waad Bahjat, who faces a year in prison over a Facebook Live video, appeared in court for her fourth hearing at 10:00 in Khartoum yesterday. During the brief session, the case was again adjourned until January 26.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga Bahjat who is a social media activist and human rights and women's rights defender, faces one year of imprisonment over a Facebook video she broadcast to report on an incident in which several women were allegedly harassed by SAF and police officers at a petrol station.

On November 8, when she went out to refuel her car in Khartoum, she noticed soldiers abusing and harassing women in the queue that was designated for women. She also noticed that the women's queue was not moving forward whilst the men's queue was moving.

When she asked about the situation, she was told that the fuel station would serve women. Bahjat asked to speak with the manager of the station but officers told her that they were in charge. She then demanded that women should be allowed to refuel their cars, but her plea was rejected and she was insulted by the officers.

After the incident, she shared a Facebook Live video in which she talked about the incident and highlighted the discrimination and unequal treatment of the women at the petrol station.

Following the broadcast, she was arrested and detained at the El Imtidad police station where she was subjected to threats and ill-treatment and sustained cuts and bruises on her arms and shoulders.

Bahjat was charged with defamation, insulting a public servant exercising judicial proceedings, publishing false news, and public nuisance according to the 1991 Criminal Act. She was also accused of attacking a police officer and a SAF officer.

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