July 12, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — A number of Sudanese girls including Southerners were arrested by police last week on charges that they violated the public dress code, one of them told Sudan Tribune today.
- Photo showing Lubna Hussein’s clothing when arrested by Public Order Police
Lubna Hussein, a journalist and a public information officer at the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was one of nine girls taken by the Public Order Police (POP) on Sunday from a ballroom in an area east of Khartoum.
The only thing in common between all those taken into custody was that they were wearing trousers, she said.
Hussein said they found four girls ahead of them waiting for interrogation by a judge in Al-Sagana court.
Among the detained were four from Southern Sudan, three of whom were under the age of eighteen, she added.
The Sudanese journalist said that no representatives from the Non-Muslims commission were present considering that the Southern girls were Christians.
The arrests took place under the Criminal Penal Code which states that anyone wearing “grossly clothing” shall be punished with no more than 40 lashes or a fine or both.
Ten out of the thirteen girls ended up receiving 10 lashes and fined 250 Sudanese pounds while the remaining three asked for their lawyers to be present and as such their cases were transferred to the deputy prosecutor.
Hussein said that some of the girls admitted guilt to the judge without appearing to be aware of its implications. She said that one girl told her that she just wanted to “get this over with”.
The Sudanese journalist said that the application of this section of the criminal penal code is damaging to a girl’s reputation in the Sudanese society.
She disclosed that one of the girls was “so terrified” before the judge that she urinated on herself.
Her case is yet to be heard before court.
Last year a senior police officer in South Sudan capital of Juba was sacked after he ordered a crackdown on young women wearing tight trousers.
Southern Sudan unlike the North is not governed by Islamic Shari’a law.