A 16-year-old south Sudanese girl was lashed 50 times after a judge ruled her knee-length skirt was indecent, her lawyer and family said in the latest case to push Sudan's Islamic law into the spotlight. The mother of teenager Silva Kashif told Reuters on Friday [Nov 27] she was planning to sue the police who made the arrest and the judge who imposed the sentence, as her daughter was underage and a Christian. The case will add fuel to a debate already raging over Sudan's decency laws after this year's high-profile conviction of Sudanese U.N. official Lubna Hussein, who was briefly jailed for wearing trousers in public.
In February the Sudanese government legalized the Sunna form of FGM. The Council of Ministers dropped the 13th article of the 2009 Children’s Act which banned FGM to take into account the fatwa that distinguishes “harmful” circumcision from Sunna.
Flogging sentence dropped in trial of Lubna Hussein. However, the guilty verdict has not been overturned and rather than pay a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds Hussein has chosen to go to jail in protest at the guilty verdict.
All 52 women's rights activists physically violated and arrested outside the Khartoum courtroom where the trial of Lubna Hussein for 'indecent' clothing was taking place, have been released and are safe.
Lubna Hussein had been released after a day in prison after the government backed Journalists Union paid her fine. They did so without her consent. It is believed the government hopes that by closing this case, the pressure to repeal the discriminatory laws with die down. The sentence of flogging was dropped in the case of Lubna Hussein who was charged under article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for wearing trousers in a public place. However, the guilty verdict has not been overturned and she had to choose between paying a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds or facing one month in jail. On Monday evening, Lubna Hussein was taken to jail to begin her sentence. Ms. Hussein did not want to lend any legitimacy to the verdict by paying the fine, and had intended to appeal the guilty verdict in both the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Lubna Hussein had previously pointed out that this charge falls under ‘immoral’ or ‘indecent behaviour’, a charge which will remain on her record and that of the other women arrested. Although she she will not be flogged, this offence on her record is associated with prostitution and other 'immoral' behaviour.
The following is the text of a report submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women on the trial of Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein who was charged under Article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for wearing trousers.
"Many Tunisians are voicing concerns that Sudan's prosecution of journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein for wearing trousers could mark a shift away from women's rights and towards religious extremism in the Maghreb."