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Petition Launched Over Rwandan Woman Facing Jail Term for ‘Shameful Dressing’

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A 24-year-old woman arrested in Rwanda who made headlines for dressing inappropriately in public is facing time in jail.

Liliane Mugabekazi was detained on Aug. 7 after attending a concert by popular French musician Tayc in a sheer dress and has been charged with indecent dressing. The post went viral, but Mugabekazi’s viral moment could land her a second stint behind bars–up to two years.

Since the beginning of European colonialism in the country in 1884, Roman Catholicism has been the dominant religion in Rwanda. Islam is currently the largest minority religion in Rwanda, with virtually all Muslims in Rwanda being Sunni Muslims.

“It is on these serious grounds that we ask the court to remand Mugabekazi for 30 days. She is suspected to have committed public indecency,” the spokesman for the prosecution, Faustin Nkusi, told AFP.

The prosecution added that Mugabekazi “attended the concert while wearing clothes that reveal her private parts… clothes that we call shameful.”

Police spokesman John Bosco Kabera condemned Mugabekazi, citing “immorality and indecency among young people.”

“This problem is escalating… you find an individual wearing only a shirt only… without pants or shorts,” he continued. “These people then go to public places dressed like that, with clothes that look like nets.”

Mugabekazi was released on bail after being detained for 12 days. Her arrest garnered attention from across the globe, and a petition was created on to see that she receives justice.

“If our country is supporting creative ideas, being diverse, and keeping an open mind in all sections, entertainment shouldn’t be the only sector to be left out, and you can’t expect someone who is going to a HipHop/R&B concert to dress the same as those going to a gospel choir concert, everything has its unspoken lane,” the petition reads in part. “I personally believe, that if it’s really a crime, then the media agencies which facilitated in circulating of the pictures should be held responsible as collaborators.”

You can click here to sign the petition.

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