Sudan: Amnesty International calls on government to repeal law penalising women for wearing trousers
Posted: 04 September 2009
As a Court in Khartoum prepares to resume its trial of Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, Amnesty International today called on the Sudanese government to withdraw the charges against her and repeal the law used to justify the flogging of women for wearing clothing deemed to be 'indecent'.
Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme, said:
'The manner in which this law has been used against women is unacceptable, and the penalty called for by the law - up to 40 lashes - abhorrent.
'The law is crafted in a way that makes it impossible to know what is decent or indecent. In practice, women are routinely arrested, detained, tried and then, on conviction, flogged simply because a police officer disapproves of their clothing. The law is also discriminatory, in that it is used disproportionately against women.
'No one should be flogged. This is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and flies in the face of international law and common standards of human decency.'
In 2003, the African Commission ordered Sudan to amend Article 152 on the grounds that flogging amounted to state-sanctioned torture, after eight women brought a case against the government when they were arrested for publicly picnicking with male friends. The eight were flogged in public using a wire and plastic whip, which reportedly left permanent scars on the women. The government has made no moves to amend the law since the Commission's decision.
Note to editors:
152 Obscene and Indecent Acts
(2) The act shall be contrary to public morals if it is regarded as such according to the standard of the person's religion or the custom of the country where the act takes place.