World

Sudan woman spared flogging for wearing trousers

A Sudanese judge convicted a woman journalist on Monday for violating the public indecency law by wearing trousers outdoors and fined her $200, but did not impose a feared flogging penalty.
Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein, right, who faced 40 lashes on the charge of 'indecent dressing,' flashes a victory sign to supporters as she enters court in Khartoum on Aug. 4. ((Abd Raouf/ Associated Press))

A Sudanese judge convicted a female journalist on Monday for violating the public indecency law by wearing trousers outdoors and fined her $200, but did not impose a feared flogging penalty.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by the public order police in Khartoum. Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days later. But Hussein and two others decided to go to trial.

Hussein said Friday she would rather go to jail than pay any fine, out of protest of the nation's strict laws on women's dress.

The case has made headlines in Sudan and around the world and Hussein used it to rally world opinion against the country's morality laws based on a strict interpretation of Islam.

Galal al-Sayed, Hussein's lawyer, said the judge had the option of choosing flogging, but apparently opted for fine to avoid international criticism.

Ahead of the trial, police rounded up dozens of female demonstrators, many of them wearing trousers, outside the courtroom.