Sudanese court drops charges against 24 women in trousers

Khartoum (Sudan): Twenty-four women who were facing 40 lashes each and a fine for wearing trousers at a party were released from custody after a court here dropped charges of indecency against them. The party took place on Wednesday evening in a closed hall in the city and the authorities had given permission to hold it. Despite that, police raided the hall and arrested all women wearing trousers. Rights groups allege that police in Muslim majority Sudan are misusing Article 152 of the Criminal Code related to wearing ‘obscene outfit’ to target Christian women who form less than 3% of the population. Although the law applies to all, it is non-Muslim women who are discriminated against. While pressure from rights groups often force Sudanese courts to drop charges against the accused, hundreds of women are still flogged and fined every year for wearing ‘obscene outfit’.