The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Sudanese Police Sues A Reporter
Supporting Lubna Al Hussein
And Claims A $400,000 Compensation.
ANHRI Resents The Oppressive Sudanese Practices And Requests Changes To The General Discipline Law.
Cairo on 22/7/2009
ANHRI states that the Sudanese authorities are continuing further to persecute reporters and oppress all voices defending freedom of expression. ANHRI requests the Sudanese government to abolish or change the public discipline law, one of the most oppressive and discriminating laws against women as it violates basic individual freedoms.
General discipline police authority filed a communiqué against the female reporter Amal Habbani, editor of the column “Tiny Issues” in Ajrass Al Horreya (Freedom Bells) paper after Amal wrote an article on 12/7/2009 supporting her colleague Lubna Al Hussein.
Amal was questioned by the press and publication prosecution on 20/7/2009. The communiqué is based on the article #159 of the criminal law regarding defaming. The general discipline police authority claimed a compensation of 10 million Sudanese pounds amounting to $400,000 to paid by the bold reporter,Amal.
Amal wrote an article titled “ Lubna…A Case Of Subduing Woman’s Body”, in which she asserted that Lubna’s case is not at all about dressing up style , but rather a political one to intimidate and terrorize opponents with the general discipline law, most oppressive to women.
A couple of weeks ago, the female reporter Lubna Al Hussein,editor of “Men’s Talk” column was prosecuted and tried in the general discipline court accused of “sensational dressing up”. The general discipline police authority considered Lubna’s dressing style a threat to the values and virtues of the Sudanese society. Conviction of such an accusation results in receiving 40 whips in public as per the article #152/1991 of the criminal law.
Sudanese activists women made a protest stand supporting Lubna on 19/7/2009 at Ajras Al Horrya paper premises and resenting the prosecution order. Reporters , lawyers and human rights activists contributed to the stand.
Sudanese Security breaking into private parties and congregations has become frequent in the past years. Thousands of Sudanese women were whipped , imprisoned and fined convicted of the accusation “sensational dressing up”.
Most interesting is that the police officer investigating the defendants (all are women) asks each to lift her arms up and turn around one complete turn. After taking close and thorough looks across her entire body, front and rear, he decides whether her clothes are seductive or not!! Then the defendants are judged in the general discipline court facing verdicts of whipping or imprisonment or fining.
ANHRI requests of all human rights, women’s rights and freedom press NGOs to support Lubna and Amal and to stop such cruel and unfair trials that violate every known international treaty defending women’s rights and press freedom.
ANHRI declares that these trials are invalid and illegal as the defendant is neither assigned a lawyer nor allowed to speak for herself in court.
ANHRI asserts that arresting innocents and accusing them because of their apparel is a blatant violation to individual freedoms. Choosing what to wear is a basic right to privacy.
These rights are listed in the international human rights declaration reflecting the principles of the international law. State intervention with basic rights should be based on justifiable and agreed upon reasons in a democratic society which is not the case in Sudan.
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