Sudan scraps law curtailing women’s rights

Thousands of women flogged, fined during Bsahir’s ironfisted rule under archaic public order law for ‘indecent and immoral acts’.

KHARTOUM - Sudan's cabinet Tuesday scrapped a controversial law that severely curtailed women's rights during the 30-year tenure of deposed autocrat Omar al-Bashir, state media reported.

Thousands of women were flogged, fined and even jailed during Bashir's ironfisted rule under the archaic public order law for "indecent and immoral acts".

"The council of ministers agreed in an extraordinary meeting today to cancel the public order law across all provinces," the official SUNA news agency reported.

The cabinet's decision is still to be ratified by the ruling sovereign council, which is an 11-member joint civilian-military body.

Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, severely restricting the role of women in Sudan for decades.

During his rule, authorities implemented a strict moral code that activists said primarily targeted women, through harsh interpretations of Islamic sharia law.

Bashir was deposed by the army on April 11 after months of protests against his rule.

Women were at the forefront of demonstrations.

Activists say the public order law was used as a weapon, with security forces regularly arresting women even for attending private parties or for wearing trousers.

The law also punished those who consumed or brewed alcohol, which is banned in the northeast African country.

Sudan's new government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has assured citizens it will uphold women's rights.

On Tuesday, the cabinet also decided to "restructure the country's judicial system in order to prepare it for the new era," SUNA reported without elaborating.