Sudanese women protesters sentenced to 20 lashes, month in jail

CAIRO (Reuters) – Nine female Sudanese protesters were sentenced on Saturday to 20 lashes and one month in prison for rioting, the Democratic Alliance of Lawyers said, a day after President Omar al-Bashir ordered the release of all women detained in anti-government demonstrations.

Bashir declared a state of emergency last month that produced a raft of measures including the establishment of emergency courts across the country such as the one in Khartoum that convicted the nine women.

The Democratic Alliance of Lawyers, part of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, the main organizer of the protests, has said more than 800 people have been tried in the emergency courts.

Protests against Bashir and his National Congress Party have taken place almost daily since Dec. 19 in towns and cities all over Sudan, in what has become the most sustained popular challenge to him since he took power in a coup 30 years ago.

On Friday, International Women’s Day, Bashir ordered the release of all women arrested in connection with the demonstrations.

Hundreds turned out for protests in Khartoum and Omdurman that day, undeterred by the emergency measures.

Bashir has also dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, expanded the powers of security forces and banned unlicensed public gatherings.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association called for fresh demonstrations in Omdurman on Sunday.

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