London, Aug 2 (ANI): A Sudanese female journalist who faces up to 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public says she is not afraid of being flogged, and dared Islamic judges to have her whipped for the crime.
Lubna Hussein is due to go on trial on Tuesday charged with dressing indecently in public. She faces up to 40 lashes and an unlimited fine if she is convicted of breaching Article 152 of Sudanese criminal law, which prohibits dressing indecently in public.
Sitting in the restaurant where her ordeal began, Lubna Hussein looks at the offending item of clothing that caused all the trouble and laughs softly.
As she recounted her ordeal in Khartoum yesterday Hussein, a widow in her late thirties who works as a journalist and United Nations' press officer, managed cheerfully to crack jokes - despite the real prospect that in a couple of days she will be flogged with a camel-hair whip in a public courtyard.
"Flogging is a terrible thing - very painful and a humiliation for the victim. But I am not afraid of being flogged. I will not back down. I want to stand up for the rights of women, and now the eyes of the world are on this case I have a chance to draw attention to the plight of women in Sudan," she told The Telegraph.
She could easily have escaped punishment by simply claiming immunity as a UN worker, as she is entitled to under Sudanese law. Instead, she is resigning from the UN - to the confusion of judges who last Wednesday adjourned the case because they did not know what to do with her.
"When I was in court I felt like a revolutionary standing before the judges," she said, her eyes blazing with pride. "I felt as if I was representing all the women of Sudan."
Like many other women in the capital, Hussein fell foul of Sudan's Public Order Police, hated groups of young puritans employed by the government to crack down on illegal drinkers of alcohol and women who, in their view, are insufficiently demure.
Despite their claims of moral superiority, they have a reputation for dishonesty and for demanding sexual favours from women they arrest, the paper reports.
Hussein was one of 14 women arrested at the Kawkab Elsharq Hall, a popular meeting place for the capital's intellectuals and journalists, who bring their families. Most of them were detained for wearing trousers.
The police had difficulty seeing what Hussein was wearing under her loose, flowing Sudanese clothes. She was wearing green trousers, not the jeans that she said she sometimes wears, and wore a headscarf, as usual, The Telegraph reports. (ANI)