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Sudan woman in court for uncovered hair

19 September 2013, 22:04

Khartoum - A Sudanese woman who refuses to cover her hair under the country's morality law appeared in court on Thursday and her case was adjourned until 4 November, her lawyer said.

Amira Osman Hamed, 35, has said she is prepared to be flogged to defend the right to leave her hair uncovered in defiance of what she has called a "Taliban"-like law.

"The defence asked the court that the charges against this woman be withdrawn, and the court adjourned the hearing until 4 October while it considers the request," Moezz Hadhra told AFP.

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

"They want us to be like Taliban women," Hamed said in an interview with AFP this month, referring to the fundamentalist militant movement in Afghanistan.

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

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

"This public order law changed Sudanese women from victims to criminals," Hamed, a divorced computer engineer who runs her own company, told AFP.

"This law is targeting the dignity of Sudanese people."

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

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

Ten other women rounded up with her in a restaurant were each given 10 lashes.



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