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ACJPS Condemns Arrests of Women’s Rights Activists

(7 September 2023) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies today condemned the arrest of 48 women protesting in Khartoum in support of Lubna Hussein, the journalist arrest several weeks ago in Khartoum under controversial public order laws for wearing trousers. Police and security forces today arrested the women while they were demonstrating in front of a North Khartoum Criminal Court, which was holding its third hearing in the controversial Lubna Hussein case.  

Police and security forces used excessive force during the arrest and eyewitnesses confirm that women were severely beaten and dragged into to a police pick-up. Three of the women were seriously injured, Amira Osman, Amani Jaffar and Sara Abdelrahman. These three women were transferred to the hospital.

Among the women who were arrested are lawyers, journalists, women rights’ activists and members of opposition political parties, all members of a newly formed initiative known as No to Women’s Oppression. The objective of the initiative is to educate the public Sudan’s public orders laws and the ways in which they are oppressively targeting women. The initiative is calling for the complete annulment of the public order legislation.

The 48 women were, at the time of writing, in cells at the North Khartoum Police Station. Lawyers have been denied access to the arrested women. All the women are have charged been charged with causing a nuisance and disturbing public peace under Article 77 of the Penal Code.

Among the women who were arrested are:

1-      Zaianab Bader Eldin, teacher

2-      Wala Salah, student

3-      Manhil Ibrahim

4-      Dr. Ihasan Faagiri, medical doctor and women’s rights activist

5-      Fihima abd Alhafiez, Director of the Salama Women’s Rights Organisation

6-      Zienab Alsawi, women’s rights activist

7-      Afaf Mohamed Hamid, lawyer

8-      Rsaha Awad, journalist

9-      Hadeel Gafar

10-  Adillla Alzaibag, head of the Sudan Women’s Union

11-  Amira Osman, engineer

12-  Sara Abdelrahman, lawyer

13-  Igabal AbdAlla

14-  Shadia Abd AlMonim, women’s rights activist

15-  Huda Shafieg

16-  Amal Hussein

17-  Amani Jaffar

18-  Azza Altigani El Tayeb

19-  Noha Alnagar

20-  Rabah Al Sadiq Al Mahadi

21-  Sabah Adam

22-  Rabiea'h Hassan

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies condemns the actions of the government of Sudan as an illegitimate restriction of freedom of speech, which is guaranteed under Article 39 of the Sudanese Interim Constitution, as well as regional and inernational human rights law. The Centre calls for the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the protest and respect for the right of citizens to express their opinions about national laws.

Background to the Lubna Case

Lubna Hussein, a journalist and a public information officer at the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), was arrested on 3 July 2023 along with 12 other girls and charged with violating public order. The basis for the charge, the women were informed upon their arrest, was that they had been wearing trousers.

The case has thrust the country’s public order laws into the spotlight. The laws routinely target ordinary women, particularly those from Southern Sudan and those who are poor. These laws have been criticised both for the discriminatory nature of their application and the lack of procedural guarantees associated with the specialised courts which prosecute offenders and typically enforce sentences on an expedited basis.


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