Sudanese UN female employee Lubna Hussein faced threats of imprisonment and flogging for the “sin” of wearing trousers in Khartoum – and her saga is far from over.
Sudanese blogger Drima commented on the fact that Lubna will not be flogged now but reminded his readers of the (Teddy Bear Circus). Lubna was fined US $209 by a Sudanese court, refused to pay and was sentenced to one month in prison. She was later released after the Sudanese journalist's union paid the fine on her behalf. Her question now is: What happens to the 700 plus women who could not afford to pay for their trousers?
On the issue of flogging women in the name of religion, Egyptian blogger and journalist Mona El Tahawy believes that this is clear abuse of women and Islam:
Ten of those women [who were wearing trousers] accepted a fine and flogging but Ms. Hussein and two others contested the charges, which they’re now fighting in court. The Sudanese regime barred her from traveling to Lebanon earlier this week to give a television interview on her trial, which resumes on Sept. 7.
It’s bizarre to use the word “lucky” to describe a woman facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers, but by virtue of her position and clout, that’s exactly what Ms. Hussein is. She is also brave and defiant: Ms. Hussein resigned her position as press officer for the United Nations, which could have earned her immunity from the charges, to stand trial.
And most importantly she is a Muslim woman who knows that a flogging for wearing trousers is sheer and utter nonsense; she has said she was ready to “receive (even) 40,000 lashes” if that’s what it takes to abolish the law.
Not so lucky have been the thousands of other Sudanese women — Muslim and non-Muslim southern Sudanese women. They have served as the whipping girls for the Sudanese regime’s cheap game of flogging women to show off its “Islamic principles.”
Mona highlights the fact that:
Flogging is a cruel and inhuman punishment that is banned by international law and conventions like the one against torture, to which the majority of countries in the world are signatories.
She called on the international community:
to take away the pass to the international club from countries that duck out of their international obligations under the pretext of “cultural or religious” reservations.
Egyptian Seyasy Masry wrote in support of Lubna's cause:
Lubna clearly said :
The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights issued the following statement:
Khawater [AR] reported Lubna's refusal to pay the fine, her acquital upon paying, and the clashes between Lubna's supporters and the Islamists, and Mona ElTahawy wrote about how Sudan was caught with its pants downz:
The entire world was watching when a judge waived the flogging sentence Monday and ordered her to pay a $200 fine. But Hussein kicked the ball right back at the Khartoum government, refusing to pay the fine and choosing instead to spend a month in jail to show solidarity with the thousands of other women, Muslim and non-Muslim, that the so-called Islamic Sudanese regime singles out for its brand of hollow piety.
Shockingly, such charges are not unusual in Khartoum, where a police official says nearly 43,000 women were detained last year for indecent clothing offences. The Sudanese regime picked on the wrong woman with Hussein. Despite her request to family and friends not to pay the fine on her behalf, the head of the Journalists Union — a member of the ruling party — paid the fine and Hussein was almost pushed out of prison — television news reports show her looking upset at being told to leave.
Mona ends her post saying:
It’s about time the UN kicked out Sudan and other countries that so egregiously violate women’s most basic rights in the name of “decency.”