Sudan launches probe into woman's whipping
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More than 50 people were arrested outside Sudan's Justice Ministry in Khartoum on Tuesday as they protested against the whipping of a woman in a video on youtube that went viral. Authorities said the protesters were arrested for unlawful assembly, but they have launched an investigation after the video prompted international outrage.
The 52 people were from the Women Oppression Coalition, according to the Khartoum state police. All the protesters were released on bail. The coalition issued a statement on the rights of women in Sudan that was printed by the Sudan Tribune.
The two-minute video shown on the youtube site is of a woman in a head scarf and robe being beaten by a police officer in what looks to be a parking lot. A group of people watches the policeman as he whips her across her back. This conforms with Sharia law, but when she turns to the policeman to plead for mercy, he hits her on her face and body.
Nahido Amala Hassan, Women Oppression Coalition
The person filming the scene turns to the police officer at his left, who laughs as the camera turns towards him. He then helps the other policeman whip her while she screams.
The video was put out "to damage the image of the country," said Sudan's deputy chief of police, but Women Oppression Coalition member Nahido Amala Hassan says the police released the video themselves.
"This is a very critical time in Sudan's history," she says. "Maybe they want to send a message through this video to say that we are going back to Islam, after the secular southern part of Sudan is separated we will be able to enjoy our holy Islam."
An international outcry and outrage within Sudan has prompted an investigation.
"The investigation was started immediately after the images of the young woman, being punished under Articles 154 and 155 of the 1991 Sudanese penal code, appeared on the internet," said Sudan's Judiciary Authority in a statement.
The woman's specific charges have not been released.
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