All 52 women's rights activists physically violated and arrested outside the Khartoum courtroom where the trial of Lubna Hussein for 'indecent' clothing was taking place, have been released and are safe.
Lubna Hussein had been released after a day in prison after the government backed Journalists Union paid her fine. They did so without her consent. It is believed the government hopes that by closing this case, the pressure to repeal the discriminatory laws with die down. The sentence of flogging was dropped in the case of Lubna Hussein who was charged under article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for wearing trousers in a public place. However, the guilty verdict has not been overturned and she had to choose between paying a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds or facing one month in jail. On Monday evening, Lubna Hussein was taken to jail to begin her sentence. Ms. Hussein did not want to lend any legitimacy to the verdict by paying the fine, and had intended to appeal the guilty verdict in both the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Lubna Hussein had previously pointed out that this charge falls under ‘immoral’ or ‘indecent behaviour’, a charge which will remain on her record and that of the other women arrested. Although she she will not be flogged, this offence on her record is associated with prostitution and other 'immoral' behaviour.
The following is the text of a report submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women on the trial of Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein who was charged under Article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for wearing trousers.
"Many Tunisians are voicing concerns that Sudan's prosecution of journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein for wearing trousers could mark a shift away from women's rights and towards religious extremism in the Maghreb."
On 10 July 2009, 13 women were arrested in Khartoum, Sudan and charged with violating the public dress code by wearing trousers. Ten have already been flogged and one of whom, journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein, has rescinded legal immunity.
As Lubna Ahmad Hussein works for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the judge today said that she has immunity so the case could be cancelled. Hussein refused, however, and said that she will resign from UNMIS so she will be dealt with as a Sudanese citizen. The decision was reached to postpone the case to another session on Tuesday 4th of August.
The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International solidarity network is gravely concerned to hear that tomorrow, Wednesday 29 July, at 10:00 am, Sudanese time, the court will hear the case brought against Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmad Hussein for ‘inappropriate dress and conduct’.