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15 women detained for 'indecent dress' in Sudanese capital

June 28 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Sudanese women in downtown Khartoum (
Sudanese women in downtown Khartoum (

Sudan’s Public Order Police detained 15 young women on charges of indecent dress during patrols in the centre of Khartoum on Monday.

The Public Order Police began its swoops after the Commissioner of Khartoum, Ahmed Abu Shanab, issued a decree on Sunday in which he forbade women to wear trousers and short sleeves, and men to wear shorts.

Khalid Omar, deputy-chairman of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), strongly condemned the Khartoum state “campaign against civil rights and freedoms”.

“Personal liberty is guaranteed by all legislation and international norms,” he told Radio Dabanga on Sunday.

“The primary goal of the Public Order Bill and various decrees deprive the Sudanese of the right to personal choices that are linked with civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.”

The opposition leader stressed that “the return of the Public Order swoops requires all Sudanese to engage in an organised resistance campaign, to cancel the Public Order Law and decrees”.

In the past, women detained on charges of wearing indecent dress have been sentenced to fines and lashes.

Five members of the Sudanese Athletics Team were convicted in Khartoum in December last year for wearing ‘inappropriate dress’. The Public Order Court of Jebel Awlia in southern Khartoum state sentenced each of them to pay a fine of SDG500 ($82).

In June 2015, 12 Christian women were held by the public order police when leaving the Baptist church in Khartoum North after a religious ceremony. They wore trousers and skirts.

The young women were charged under Article 152 of the 1990 Penal Code, which states that, “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.”

In 2009, France granted residency to Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein, who was charged with public indecency after she was detained in a Khartoum restaurant, along with 12 other women, for wearing trousers.

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