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Trial against activist in 'indecent clothing' adjourned

December 12 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Winnie Omar, a women's rights activist in Sudan (RD)
Winnie Omar, a women's rights activist in Sudan (RD)

The Public Order Court in Khartoum delayed the trial of a women’s rights activist accused of wearing indecent clothing on Monday. They were not allowed to search my phone and laptop.”

The judge of the court in El Deim district postponed the case of activist Winnie Omar after hearing witnesses on Monday. Omar was arrested on charges of wearing indecent clothes under the Public Order Act.

She said that a deputy prosecutor and a police officer arrested her near El Osdra club while she was waiting for transportation to return home on Sunday. The public order police detained Omar for hours before she was released on bail.

“I was wearing the same clothes that I wore on [Sunday] morning during the trial of the [24 girls], I was wearing a skirt, a blouse and a scarf,” Omar wrote on her Facebook page. Last week, 24 women were caught wearing trousers at a party in the Sudanese capital, but on Sunday the district court dropped the charges of indecency against them.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga Omar said that they took her to El Deim public order police office, where a complaint was filed against her. At the time the public order police brought in other witnesses. “They took my clothes, a skirt and a blouse, as exhibits I changed clothes in the cell.”

Omar said that the contents of her phone and laptop, which she carried with her, were searched despite her objections that the type of charge does not give the police the right to search the contents of mobile devices. “But they found nothing.”

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.” The crime is punishable by up to 40 lashes and a fine.

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