The Violation of Women’s Rights in Sudan: Article 152

Posted: May 12, 2013 in All Posts, Sudan

For decades, the women of Sudan have been suffering under article 152 of the penal code, an inhumane and notorious law put into place in 1991.

Article 152 of Sudan’s criminal code states that “any conduct or clothing in violation of public decency be punished with 40 lashes.” The law is vague as to what should be considered “indecent” clothing, leaving room for the abusive Public Order Police to arrest whoever they deem to be dressed inappropriately or committing an act of indecency.

The Public Order Police are known for patrolling the streets of Khartoum and arresting anyone they deem immoral or in opposition to Islamic values. Sudanese women from various backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and social statuses continue to be harassed by the abusers and executors of Article 152.

Many women have been arrested under article 15. They have been taken from streets, public places, cars or even their homes.

On July 3, 2009, thirteen women were arrested in Khartoum under article 152 of the criminal code for wearing pants. They were sentenced to ten lashes and bail was set at 100 US dollars. Three of the women, including well-known journalist Lubna Hussein, refused the punishment and asked for a lawyer and a court hearing.

At the hearing, Hussein and the other two women were granted a presidential pardon, but the women refused it. They wanted more and ultimately challenged the judge to eliminate article 152 of the criminal code.

Hussein directly spoke to international human rights organizations about the cruelty of the law. She appeared on television shows and interviews wearing the same pair of pants that got her arrested, asking the viewers to explain to her what was indecent about her attire.

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