Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's cabinet Tuesday scrapped a controversial law that severely curtailed women's rights during the 30-year tenure of deposed autocrat Omar al-Bashir, state media reported.
Thousands of women were flogged, fined and even jailed during Bashir's rule under the archaic public order law.
"The council of ministers agreed in an extraordinary meeting today to cancel the public order law across all provinces," the official SUNA news agency reported.
The cabinet's decision is still to be ratified by the ruling sovereign council, which is an 11-member joint civilian-military body.
Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, severely restricting the role of women in Sudan for decades.
During his rule, authorities implemented a strict moral code that activists said primarily targeted women, through harsh interpretations of Islamic sharia law.
Bashir was deposed by the army on April 11 after months of protests against his rule.
Women were at the forefront of the demonstrations.
In February, Bashir had acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that it was the public order law that had angered younger generations, especially women.
Activists say security forces linked the public order law with article 152 of the Sudanese penal code, which stipulates punishment for "indecent and immoral acts".
Under the law those who consumed or brewed alcohol -- banned in the northeast African country -- were punished, while activists said security forces used the legislation to arrest women for attending private parties or wearing trousers.
Sudan's new government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has assured citizens it will uphold women's rights.
"The government has delivered what it had promised. This is a real win for us, for the feminist movement in Sudan and for women's rights," said prominent Sudanese activist Tahani Abbas.
"Many women were flogged and humiliated because of this shameful law. With this decision, Sudan is now moving toward a new life where women can enjoy dignity."
A senior member of Bashir's ex-ruling National Congress Party contended that it had been implementation of the law by individual actors -- rather than the law per se -- that had created problems.
"Some policemen were using this law to harass women," said Mohamed al-Amin, who is also a defence lawyer for Bashir.
"What we need is to precisely define under article 152 the dress code for women."
On Tuesday, the cabinet also decided to "restructure the country's judicial system in order to prepare it for the new era," SUNA reported without elaborating.
The cabinet also agreed to form a committee to review all appointments made during the Bashir era that are suspected of having been made on the basis of questionable personal connections or favours.
Bashir, who is in prison in Khartoum, is on trial for allegedly illegally acquiring and using foreign funds.