On Friday, thirteen Sudanese women were arrested and ten flogged for wearing pants. The floggings occurred after the women were arrested by public order police enforcing Sharia law in a cafe in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. The women were each fined 250 Sudanese pounds, which is about $120. According to the BBC, the ten women who were flogged pled guilty and therefore received lashes immediately.
Khartoum and Sudan’s Muslim north operates under strict Muslim Sharia law, though non-Muslim women are not supposed to be subject to these laws. Women are expected to dress in traditional attire and Western-style clothing is frowned upon. In northern Sudan, Sharia law has been strictly enforced since a 1989 military coup. At least several of the arrested women were from the predominantly Christian southern region of Sudan. One of the women, Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein challenged the charges against her in court and is now waiting to see if her case will be tried. Hussein said, “This is retribution to thousands of girls who are facing flogging for the last 20 years because of wearing trousers,” reported the Associated Press. “They prefer to remain silent.” Flogging is a common practice endured by many Sudanese women.