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Sudan charges woman activist with ‘crimes against the state’

July 29 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Wini Omer (Facebook)
Wini Omer (Facebook)

The authorities in Khartoum charged journalist and human rights activist Nawal Omer with violating public morals and prostitution last week.

The charges may also include “crimes against the state,” which can carry the death penalty.

Nawal Omer, better known as Wini Omer, has long been a vocal opponent of Sudan’s morality laws that criminalise “indecent dress” and other private choices, making her a frequent target for prosecution by authorities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated in a press dispatch on Friday.

Omer was held at a bus stop in Khartoum in December last year for wearing “inappropriate clothes”. Authorities opened charges of “indecent dress,” but the judge dropped the charge after three court hearings, concluding her long skirt, blouse, and scarf were not indecent.

In February, policemen in plain clothes raided an apartment where Omer was meeting with three friends. They confiscated their laptops and mobile phones, and detained them. After five days, the group was released. As they were accused of prostitution, they were not allowed to leave the country.

On Tuesday, Omer had to appear before a Public Order court, facing charges of prostitution and violating public morals. At the hearing, she was told that she could also face further charges of spying against the government and crimes against the state, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

The woman activist told Jehanne Henry, HRW Associate Director, Africa Division, that she will continue campaigning against the oppression of woman and society in her country. “I can [take the risk] because I’m privileged, through my social profile and as an activist, while thousands of women are voiceless and silenced by the stigma of the public order regime,” she said.

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