File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg – A Sudanese court has acquitted 24 South Sudanese women on charges of wearing “indecent clothing”, the Sudan Tribune reports.

Charges were levelled last Thursday following their arrest for attending a women’s concert in the Al-Mamoura district, south of the capital Khartoum, dressed in short skirts and tight trousers. But on Sunday the court dismissed the charges.

The Community Security, also known as the public order police, brought the charges against the young women under article 152 of the Sudanese Criminal Code concerning wearing obscene clothing.

While judge Ibrahim Khaled of the Arkaweet Court acquitted the women and ordered the case closed, he nevertheless found the party’s organiser, Helene Gabriel, guilty of providing false information and ordered her to pay a 10 000 Sudanese pounds fine (over R20 000) or a month’s imprisonment in case of non-payment.

Gabriel stated the event had been a family party and commercial event for cosmetics and beauty products.

The sound technician at the event was also fined 5 0000 Sudanese pounds for violating the Public Order Law and creating a noise in the neighbourhood.

In Sudan the public order police are tasked with regulating behaviour according to Islamic Shari’a law.

However, many critics say that the law is not applied uniformly and in many cases allows for abuses by police officers, particularly against women.