Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 10:54 UK

France condemns Sudan floggings


France has condemned the flogging of several women in Sudan, who were being punished for wearing trousers.

The foreign ministry called on Khartoum to abandon the prosecution of several others charged with the same offence.

The women were arrested in a Khartoum restaurant and accused of wearing clothes that threatened the values and virtue of Sudanese society.

One of the women facing charges is a well-known local journalist who has invited reporters to attend her trial.

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein said several of the women who she was arrested with had pleaded guilty to the charge and been flogged immediately.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement it "strongly condemned" the punishment.

"France, which is fighting for the abolition of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment and is combating violence against women, demands that the Sudanese authorities break off its prosecution of these people," the statement said.

Khartoum, unlike South Sudan, is governed by Sharia law.

Several of those punished were from the mainly Christian and animist south, Ms Hussein said.

Non-Muslims are not supposed to be subject to Islamic law, even in Khartoum and other parts of the mainly Muslim north.

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