Cross-dressing men flogged in Sudan for being 'womanly'

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A group of young Muslim men have been publicly flogged in Sudan after they were convicted of wearing women's clothes and make-up.

The court said the 19 men had broken Sudan's strict public morality codes.

Police arrested them at a party where they were found dancing "in a womanly fashion", the judge said.

The men were not represented in court and said nothing in their defence, some hid their faces from the hundreds of people who watched as they were lashed.

'Scared'

The sentence of 30 lashes was carried out as soon as the court in Omdurman, near Khartoum, gave its ruling.

They must also pay fines of as much as 1,000 Sudanese pounds ($400, £252).

One lawyer, who did not want to be named, told Reuters news agency the men had not received a fair trial.

Start Quote

It [homosexuality] is not in our character - it is not there and if anybody wants to import it to Sudan it will always be condemned by everybody”

End Quote Salva Kiir President of South Sudan

"These people did not get a chance for justice, public opinion and the media prejudged them and lawyers were too scared to come and defend them," he said.

Newspapers had called the party a "same sex wedding".

'Imported'

Northern Sudan is governed by Sharia law, under which homosexuality is illegal.

Laws governing "indecent clothing" were highlighted by a case last year in which a female journalist was sentenced to be flogged for wearing trousers.

The sentence was commuted to a fine.

Homosexuality is not tolerated in Southern Sudan either, where most people are Christian or follow traditional beliefs, the BBC's James Copnall says.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir recently told a radio station that homosexuality was an "imported" idea.

"It [homosexuality] is not in our character. It is not there and if anybody wants to import it to Sudan it will always be condemned by everybody," he said.

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