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Women’s rights activists decry ‘disgraceful’ arbitrary floggings in North Darfur

January 25 - 2018 EL FASHER
A girl on her way to school in North Darfur (Albert González Farran / Unamid)
A girl on her way to school in North Darfur (Albert González Farran / Unamid)

Dr Ihsan Fegeiri, coordinator of the No to Oppression of Women activist group in Sudan, has voiced her group’s outrage at reports of arbitrary flogging of women and girls by members of the military police on the streets and in the markets of El Fasher.

The “No to Suppression of Women" initiative expressed its deep concern at the violations committed against women and girls in El Fasher by military forces where they were beaten and lashed after being accused of wearing ‘indecent closing’.

Dr Fegeiri confirmed to Radio Dabanga yesterday that the forces issue and enforced the ‘sentences’ in a chaotic and inhumane manner. Women and girls have been flogged on their way to classrooms, the work places, and in the market.

In its statement, the initiative condemned what it called”the disgraceful behaviour of the forces that flogged girls under the Public Order Act which is arbitrary and flawed both in text and practice.

The statement condemned the violent act against these girls, and called for the government called to bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as drop the Public Order Act and all legislation that demeans women.

‘Inappropriate dress’

Many women have been tried under Article 152 of Sudan’s Penal Code. 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.”

On December 21 last year, the Court of Public Order in Khartoum dismissed all charges against women’s rights activist Winnie Omar, who stood accused of ‘wearing indecent clothing’. Omar was arrested on December 10, hours after attending the hearing of 24 women who had been charged with indecency for wearing trousers at a party.

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