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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sudan: Trouser Trial Set for Aug. 4

A Sudanese court has adjourned the case of a woman who was arrested and charged with dressing indecently after she was seen wearing trousers in a Khartoum cafe.

A judge on Wednesday deferred the case of Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, a noted columnist and a press officer at the United Nations Mission in Sudan, after she waived the immunity given to UN workers.

"The court gave Lubna the choice either to accept immunity from the UN or to waive that and go on with the trial," Nabil Adeeb, her lawyer, said.

But al-Hussein, who has made her trial a public campaign, inviting local and foreign journalists to attend, told the packed court: "I wish to resign from the UN, I wish this court case to continue."

Al-Hussein was arrested, along with 13 other women, in a raid on a Khartoum cafe in early July and charged with breaching Islamic law.

Public order cases in Sudan are usually dealt with quickly and 10 of the women were fined about $120 and given 10 lashes as punishment, but al-Hussein demanded a lawyer and delayed her trial.

Al-Hussein said that she decided to speak out because flogging is a practice many women endure in silence.

"Let the people see for themselves. It is not only my issue," she said.

"This is retribution to thousands of girls who are facing flogging for the last 20 years because of wearing trousers. They prefer to remain silent."

The case was adjourned until August 4.

link: Al Jazeera English - Africa - Sudan court adjourns 'trouser' case


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