Woman facing prison for black dress deemed ‘shameful dressing’ at concert

A woman is facing time behind bars for wearing clothes considered to constitute "shameful dressing" at a concert.

Liliane Mugabekazi, 24, was arrested on August 7 and charged with indecency after wearing a sheer black dress to a concert in Kigali, Rwanda where French artist Tayc was performing.

“She attended the concert while wearing clothes that reveal her private parts… clothes that we call shameful,” prosecutors said, accusing her of committing a “serious crime”.

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"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."

Mugabekazi has now been released on bail after spending 12 days in detention. That followed backlash to her arrest from both Rwandans and the international community, and an online petition that raised around £8,500 for her legal fees.

Busingye Johnston, Rwanda’s ambassador to the UK, supported her arrest.

He tweeted: “The current issue of our young men and women who drink and drug themselves unconscious, appear[ing] in public literally naked is objectionable.”

In a TV interview, police spokesman John Bosco Kabera slammed what he called “immorality and indecency among young people”.

“This problem is escalating… you find an individual wearing only a shirt only… without pants or shorts,” he said.

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“These people then go to public places dressed like that, with clothes that look like nets.”

Mugabekazi was charged in court on Thursday (August 18), according to Rwanda’s newspaper The Chronicles.

Harrison Mutabazi, a spokesperson for the judiciary, said that a ruling on her bail was set for Tuesday (August 23) but the courts decided to bring it forward.

There are also reports that Mugabekazi's lawyer has asked for her eventual trial to be filmed.


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