Four Sudanese Christian women have been found innocent after being arrested for “immoral dress.” Christian Today reports the women were among four others who were charged with immoral dress when they left a church service in Khartoum; three of the women were fined, and one is still awaiting trial.
Khartoum has a strict policy of dress, requiring women to keep their bodies covered, except for hands, feet and face. However, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) believes the increased number of Christian women arrested for immoral dress is a campaign against religious minorities in Sudan.
CSW chief executive Mervyn Thomas said, "While we welcome the fact that four of these women were found innocent, we question how some have been found guilty when they were all dressed similarly and entirely in keeping with the law and Sudanese customs.”
he continued, "We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary application of the law and the exploitation of its ambiguity to deliberately target these innocent women. These cases highlight wider concerns regarding the mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Sudan. We urge the authorities to respect the right to freedom of religion or belief, as defined in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is party, and to review or repeal article 152, since its lack of definition facilitates subjective arrests and random judicial decisions."
Publication date: August 13, 2015