July 22, 2018

Women protesters arrested in Khartoum

Women protesters, part of the “No for Oppressing Women” initiative submitted the following memo to the Sudanese Ministry of Justice this morning. During their protest outside the ministry many women were arrested (Reuters is reporting “dozens“; protest organizers estimate “forty”). As yet, their lawyers have not been granted access to them:

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

HE Spokesperson of the National Assembly

HE Spokesperson of the Khartoum State Legislature Council

HE Minister of Justice

Subject: Appeal for abolishing all laws discriminating against women

With respect and on behalf of tens of thousands of oppressed women and several other women and men who stand in solidarity with them, we submit this memo demanding the abolishment of all laws that discriminate against women. Those laws contradict with the constitution and international conventions implied. This is evident in the many cases where the Public Security (Public Order) Police and Courts are humiliating and oppressing women. The recent case of the young lady who has been flogged and millions of people watched the incident through leaked video footage is a further evidence of oppressing women based on these laws.

Dear Gentlemen

The Public Order Act has extended criminalization to the extent that many people, particularly the most vulnerable group, i.e., women, consider the executing bodies of this law an imminent danger. Indeed, an arsenal of governmental agencies has been established to execute this law including the Public Police and Special Courts. However, these institutions were failure as they resulted in practices and violations that extremely exceed the ‘crimes’ they were supposed to prevent. The Public Order cases are brought to summary courts that don’t guarantee the right of self-defense and legal representation. Usually the arrest of the suspects, investigations, trial and execution of penalties take place within 24 hours. Victims are deprived of their constitutional rights in a just trial including legal representation, self-defense and appeal to higher judiciary levels. In addition to the act mentioned above, the public Order system is mandated to implement a number of legal provisions, prominent among them is article 152 of the Penal Code. The Public Order Act is vaguely drafted that opened the doors for police officers and judges to use their discretion powers in controlling and humiliating women. This act allows judges a discretion power in deciding punishments (imprisonment up to five years), fine, or both; in addition to flogging, confiscation of property, cancelation of permission or license.

Flogging is a violation to the constitutional rights related to human dignity. It is a degrading punishment that violates article 33 of the international covenant on civil and political rights (article 7). Islamic Sharia is not an excuse, as Islam is meant to respect human beings. Indeed, the punishment of whipping for an indecent dress or act in the Public Order and Criminal Code has no foundation in Quran, which stipulates for whipping only in cases of adultery and defamation.

Dear Gentlemen

We support the decision to investigate in the above mentioned case, but we don’t think this will adequately address the situation. Treating this case as an individual and isolated case is a futile effort; the problem is in the law itself. What people watched on the leaked video was only an example for a repeated situation in the Pubic Order Courts. There are thousands of women who have been flogged without being allowed the opportunity to defend themselves.

Based on the above we demand:

1.    Abolishment of these unjust laws (Public Order Act and article 152 of the Penal Code).

2.    Reviewing all articles in the Penal Code that discriminate against women.

3.    Publishing the results that would come out from the investigation committee to the public.

No for Oppressing Women Initiative

Khartoum, 14 December 2010

Comments

  1. Wanted to blog about that as well but can’t find the video anywhere anymore. Discrimination against women is a norm to the Khartoum government. When the SPLM was wagging the liberation war, some urged that next to Southerners and other marginalized people of the Sudan, Sudanese women also need to be liberated….

  2. Jon Thomas says:

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