Indecent or Unjust?

“I am Muslin, I understand Muslin law,” said Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese journalist charged with indecent dress in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Indecent dress is a crime punishable with a $100 fine and 40 lashes. Lubna Hussein and 12 other women were arrested in July, 2009, at a café for wearing pants.

“It is not about pants; it’s about principle.” The journalist said. “A woman should be able to wear what she wants and not be publicly whipped for it.”

Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days after their arrest. Hussein and two others decided to go to court. Amnesty International asked the Sudanese government to drop the charges and the indecency law due to the penalties associated with it.

Hussein led a campaign against the law by sending out invitations to her court date. Due to the crowd of supports, her court date was postponed twice. Many of her supporters were woman wearing pants. Some of her supporters were beaten by riot police and dozens were detained. At the time of her arrest, Hussein was a United Nations press officer. The judge adjourned Hussein’s last court date to investigate if she had immunity of the indecency law due to her employment with the UN. Hussein has resigned from her UN position to challenge the law on its merit. Lubna Hussein is in the Spotlight.

Photo by Ashraf  Shazly

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