Sudan women’s activist wins human rights award

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Sudanese women’s activist Amira Osman Hamed has won a Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, the organisation announced Friday.

Ms Hamed, an engineer in her 40s, who has been a long-time activist for women's rights in Sudan, was first arrested in 2002 for wearing trousers, and again in 2013 for refusing to cover her hair.

At the time, a law prohibited women in Sudan from uncovering their hair or wearing trousers in public.

This law, which "turns Sudanese women from victims into criminals", according to Ms Hamed, was finally repealed in 2019 after the army removed President Omar al-Bashir.

More recently, Ms Hamed was arrested in January this year before being released a week later for speaking out against military rule after General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane's putsch in October 2021.

Relatives of Ms Hamed told AFP at the end of January that "30 armed and masked men" broke into her house in Khartoum in the middle of the night, "and took her to an unknown destination".

Amira Osmane Hamed "never turned away from her mission and continued to actively participate in peaceful demonstrations", said in a statement by the NGO Front Line Defenders, which awarded the activist.

The scheme has awarded human rights defenders since 2005.

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