SUDAN: URGENT ACTION - WOMEN RISK FLOGGING FOR ‘INDECENT’ CLOTHING
The Public Order Police have charged 10 female Christian students with "indecent dress” and subjected them to verbal abuse during their detention. The charge carries the punishment of flogging.
The Public Order Police (POP) arrested 12 female Christian students on 25 June. Ten of them were charged with "indecent dress", under Article 152 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Act, while the other two were released. The POP subjected the students to degrading treatment and humiliating verbal abuse during their detention. Article 152 of the 1991 Criminal Act gives POP extensive powers to arrest any person for "indecent dress" and the punishment if found guilty is 40 lashes, or a fine, or with both. In practice the law is used exclusively against women.
The POP stopped the 12 students at 10 pm in front of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Khartoum North, where they had attended a ceremony, and took them to a local police station in Khartoum North.
According to information obtained by Amnesty International, the students are between 17 and 23 years old, and all are Christians, originally from the war-torn Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state. At the time of their arrest, some were wearing trousers and others skirts. Two of the students were released about four hours after their arrest and the remaining 10 were released on bail at around 10 am on 27 June. The 10 were taken to court on 28 June where the charges against them were confirmed and court dates set. One student, Fardos Al Toum, 19, appeared in court on 6 July, wearing another dress deemed indecent by the judge who, disregarding any due process, immediately sentenced her to a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds ($83) or a month in prison. Her fine was paid by activists and her supporters and she will appear in court again in relation to the original charge. Another student, aged 17, appeared in court on 7 July and, because of her age, was transferred to a Juvenile Court.
The other nine students: Fardos Al Toum, 19; Ishraga James, 20; Uthan Omer Eljaily, 22; Diana Yagoub Abd Alrahman, 19; Seema Ali Osman, 20; Inas Mohamed Elkomani, 23; Rehab Omer Kakoum,18; Nasra Omer Kakoum, 20; and Wigdan Abdallah Salih – will appear in court on 9, 13, 16 and 17 July according to their lawyer.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
- Urging the Sudanese authorities to drop the charges against the 10 female Christian students immediately and unconditionally;
- Calling on them to abolish the penalty of flogging, which violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- Urging them to repeal Article 152 of the 1991 Criminal Act, which is vague and discriminatory and fails to adhere to Sudan’s international human rights obligations.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 AUGUST 2015 TO:
President HE Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Justice Awad Al Hassan Alnour
Ministry of Justice
PO Box 302
Al Nil Avenue, Khartoum, Sudan
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org S
alutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Interior Ismat Abdul-Rahman Zain Al-Abdin
Ministry of Interior
PO Box 873
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
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