No charges over Sudan women’s trousers

Written By: BBC
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Sudanese women
Sudanese women risk arrest if their clothes are deemed provocative by police. File image
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Charges of indecency have been dropped against 24 women who were caught wearing trousers at a party near the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The gathering was raided by morality police on Wednesday.

If convicted, the women could have faced punishment of 40 lashes and a fine for wearing “an obscene outfit”.

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Rights activists say tens of thousands of women are arrested and flogged for indecency every year, and laws can be applied arbitrarily.

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They say the law in Muslim-majority Sudan against wearing trousers and short or tight skirts discriminates against Christians.

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Traditionally, women in Sudan wear loose flowing robes.

Campaigner Amira Osman told Netherlands-based Radio Dabanga the public order act violated women’s rights.

“The party took place in a closed hall in a building in El Mamoura [south of Khartoum],” she said.

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“The girls were arrested for wearing trousers, despite obtaining a permit from the authorities.”

The law – Article 152 of the Criminal Code – applies to “indecent acts” in public, wearing an “obscene outfit” or “causing an annoyance to public feelings”.

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