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News and Press ReleasesSouth Sudan: Sudanese Woman Activist Faces Trail

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South Sudan: Sudanese Woman Activist Faces Trail

09-02-2013, 04:23 PM
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South Sudan: Sudanese Woman Activist Faces Trail

    On August 27th 2013 while at the Jabal Awalia locality West of Greater Khartoum undertaking some work on land registration, Amira Osman was approached by a police officer who demanded that she covers her hair. When she ignored him, he persisted to which Amira openly refused. As a result, she was physically assaulted, forced to sit on the floor, verbally abused and later dragged out of the government office to the police station, where they attempted to pressurize her to undergo a summary trail, Amira refused however, and insisted on having a lawyer present. She was held in dentition for four hours before being released on bail. On 1st September 2013, Amira is due for trail under article 152 of the 1991 Penal Code on indecent dress code. Should she be found guilty, she could be sentenced to flogging and paying a fine or receiving a prison sentence that could go beyond one year.

    Amira is a Khartoum based engineer who runs her own company and has been confronted by the Sudan Public Order Police on several occasions in the past. She has been targeted through physical assaults and verbal abuse while participating in civil or public activities. She has led a personal campaign against the Sudan Public Order Regime for more than 15 years by simply refusing to cover her head under any circumstances as this is who she believes she is and is how she wants to present herself. In 2012 she was detained for civil political actions for more than one month alongside other women and was subjected to massive psychological abuse due to Stdress codes.

    For the past 25 years or so, Sudanese women regardless of their race, religion, age or background, have suffered degrading treatment and humiliation under the public order code of 1996, which changed in 2009 to The Society Safety Code. Women, especially impoverished women, street vendors and students, have been and continue to be subjected to the constant threat of being arrested, beaten and tortured on the basis of what they are wearing and their mere presence in public spaces. The majority are denied legal representation and tried through what is known as summary trails and either sent to prison or flogged.

    Hala Alkarib, the Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) stated that "The degradation of women is affecting our society and self esteem and diminishes the respect that we have in our diverse cultures towards women and girls- an aspect of our culture that we do need to promote and enhance".Sudanese women represent more than half of the Sudan population, their contribution to the society economy and wellbeing is substantial. Women, from street vendors, teachers and farmers, workers are preserving communities and families across the country. The role of the state is to protect them, maintain their dignity and pride and their access to a fair justice system."
                  

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