Hundreds of Sudanese women held a peaceful demonstration at the Ministry of Justice. They submitted a memorandum to the ministry demanding the abolition of flogging of women and the Public Order Act and Article 152 of the Criminal Code, which relate to acts of ‘indecency’. The march followed the publication of a video on Youtube (see video attachement), which showed a woman being flogged on order from one of the Sudanese courts in Khartoum.Women in the march chanted against the oppression of women, lashing and violence against women. However, the marchers were chased by security officers in plain clothes, who arrested some of the women by force. About 42 women who participated in the march were arrested, as well as 5 men. They were taken to Khartoum North police department for cases to be opened against them. One woman, who was released hours after her arrest, told Radio Dabanga that among the simple questions posed to the women by investigators, was which tribe the women identified with. The woman explained that she found this question strange since they are all Sudanese and refuse to differentiate among each other on the basis of race.
Another marcher told Radio Dabanga that some of the women who were arrested had been beaten by dozens of people wearing civilian clothes and carrying batons. She said that she personally had been beaten and tossed into a cart with 10 other people He said she was also kicked.
The Sudanese judiciary had already ordered an investigation into the flogging of the woman that was videotaped and published on the Internet. She had been convicted under articles 154-155 of the Criminal Code of 1991. The judiciary said in a statement issued Monday that the investigation will be on the implementation of punishment for violation of regulations prescribed by the law, and in accordance with the criminal code. The statement stressed the judiciary will take seriously the outcome of the investigation.
For its part, the Women’s Union in Khartoum had condemned the flogging incident, calling it an insult to the Sudanese community, heritage, customs and traditions, which are respectful of women. The Union urged the appreciation and protection of women, and called for abolition of the Public Order Act.