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Khartoum continues to declare war against the women of Sudan

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Khartoum continues to declare war against the women of Sudan

“Humiliating women is humiliating the whole nation”

Press Release by the ‘No to Women’s Oppression’ Coalition

Khartoum – Sudan - December 14, 2010

The whole world was shocked after a video was leaked on you tube last week showing a Sudanese woman being lashed at Al Hijera police station in Omdurman, Khartoum. The woman was lashed all over her body, back, head and face while she was screaming and begging them to stop. The loud laughter of police officers could be heard on the video and there was a well-known judge present to witness the event, urging that he is in a rush and to finish flogging the woman quickly.

The No to Women’s Oppression Coalition, an activist coalition including hundreds of women of all walks of life from all parts of Sudan which has been campaigning against the repressive Sudanese Public Order Regime had organized a meeting and produced a statement to condemn these humiliating crimes against women. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has declared that the imposition of the penalty of lashing is a violation of Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which protects people from “exploitation and degradation […] particularly […] torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment”.

On the morning of Tuesday December 14, hundreds of women and men came on the streets in central Khartoum planning to walk peacefully to the Ministry of Justice to hand in a memo signed by a large number of Sudanese men and women protesting against the repressive and humiliating practices and laws constituted by the Sudanese Public Order Regime and to condemn the flogging of women.

Prior to reaching the ministry, and while people were still gathering, a wave of arrests took place, with approximately 41 women and 5 men summarily arrested by a mixed force of ordinary and state security officers. Some of the detainees were subject to long interrogations at the Sudanese National Intelligence Service’s head quarters and then transferred to police stations. Others were kept for interrogation at police stations.

Some of the women were beaten up badly and are now being treated in hospital. Others have been released.

Those being held at the Central Police Station remain in detention. The women and men arrested have been charged under articles 67 (disturbance of the peace), 68 and 77 (offences relating to public nuisance) of the Sudan Criminal Act 1991.

The Public Order Regime in Sudan is a set of laws and mechanisms which prohibit and enforce a range of behavior from dancing at private parties, to “indecent dress” to the concept of “intention to commit adultery”.

These offences can be interpreted with great latitude and are enforced by a special police and court system with a reputation for violence and summary justice. Procedures before the public order courts completely fail to meet fair trial standards and involve the imposition of severe penalties including lashing and execution. For a detailed analysis of the public order regime see Beyond Trousers: The Public Order Regime and the `Human Rights of Women and Girls in Sudan, by the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network:

http://www.sihanet.org/index.php/component/docman/cat_view/10-sihas-published-works


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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