Sudanese Christian women face punishment for wearing pants.
According to media reports, a group of Christian women were arrested for wearing pants. One of these women is Fardo Al Toum who was arrested in June earlier this year. She was charged with being inappropriately dressed. This woman was arrested together with 11 other Christian women in front of a church in Khartoum. The enforcers of strict Islamic dress code commonly known as the morality police arrested these women.
However, one of the two Christian women who were arrested by the morality police received a sentence of 40 lashes but her punishment was cancelled later on. The judge
while presiding over the case, pronounced her guilty but pressure from Human Rights activists caused cancellation of the sentence. Nonetheless, the other allegedly guilty women are scheduled to be tried during July.
The defence counsel of Al Toum, Mr. Muhamad Mustafa, said that international uproar has forced the court to repeal the sentence of lashes. He said, “This is the weirdest decision I have ever heard: the judge instead of declaring her innocent has convicted her without punishment, and this is itself is unlawful decision.”
He continued, “He gave her a lecture about the appearance of decent women, and he found himself in a bad position among the activists who came to support her. He didn’t want to lose his arrogance – that is why he came out with this decision.”
Another of the arrested Christian women, Wigdan Abdallah, told an International news source that the arrested Christian women were mistreated by the police. She said, “We were taken in a big truck along with drunken people and they kept driving with us on the streets of Khartoum from 9pm until 2am before arriving to the police station. Until then we didn’t know the reason for our arrest.”
“The police abused us verbally but they didn’t beat us and we kept telling them we are not guilty of anything because we were wearing trousers or skirts with shirts, which are the normal clothes that we wear every day and most of the girls in Sudan wear.”
The case has gained wide notoriety as this has been termed as an example of the persecution faced by Christians in Sudan. Amnesty International, has been endeavouring to make these charges annulled against the Christian women. A statement was released therefore, stating that decency laws are “applied in a discriminatory and disproportionate manner against women.”