First Published: 2013-09-08

 

Muslim with no veil: Woman defies 'Taliban'-like law in Sudan

 

Activists say vaguely-worded law leaves women subject to police harassment and disproportionately targets poor.

 

Middle East Online

By Ian Timberlake KHARTOUM

Morality laws stifle freedoms in Sudan

A Sudanese woman says she is prepared to be flogged to defend the right to leave her hair uncovered in defiance of a "Taliban"-like law.

Amira Osman Hamed faces a possible whipping if convicted at a trial which could come on September 19.

Under Sudanese law her hair -- and that of all women -- is supposed to be covered with a "hijab" but Hamed, 35, refuses.

Her case has drawn support from civil rights activists and is the latest to highlight Sudan's series of laws governing morality which took effect after the 1989 Islamist-backed coup by President Omar al-Bashir.

"They want us to be like Taliban women," Hamed said in an interview, referring to the fundamentalist rebel movement in Afghanistan.

She is charged under Article 152 which prohibits "indecent" clothing.

Activists say the vaguely-worded law leaves women subject to police harassment and disproportionately targets the poor in an effort to maintain "public order".

Hamed said she was visiting a government office in Jebel Aulia, just outside Khartoum, on August 27 when a policeman aggressively told her to cover her head.

"He said, 'You are not Sudanese. What is your religion?'"

"I'm Sudanese. I'm Muslim, and I'm not going to cover my head," replied Hamed.

Her dark hair, tinged golden, is braided tight against her scalp with a flare of curls at the back.

In 2009 the case of Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, a journalist, led to a global outcry and attention toward women's rights in Sudan.

Hussein was fined for wearing slacks in public but she refused to pay. She spent one day behind bars until the Sudanese Journalists' Union paid the fine on her behalf.

Others rounded up with her in a restaurant were flogged.

 

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Kerry announces new Yemen peace initiative

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo