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Judging Lubna Hussein's pants
The significance of a Sudanese court's decision not to flog a woman for wearing trousers in public
 

A Sudanese court tried to "save face," said Bec Hamilton in BecHamilton.com, by saying it would not flog United Nations employee Lubna Hussein for wearing pants in public. "Not so fast." The court still maintains Hussein is "guilty" and should pay a $200 fine. But she refused to pay (she went to jail instead and was released after a day when a journalists' union paid the fine) because it's the law "in its entirety" she is fighting, not just the punishment.

Whatever Lubna Hussein does now, said Andrew Heavens in Reuters, she has won. But so has everybody else. Hussein got to publicize the case against the law that holds that it is indecent for women to wear trousers; Islamists got their law upheld with the guilty verdict they wanted; and police saw the street protesters they've had to contend with go home after digesting the news of the court's compromise.

Compromise or no compromise, said Ahmed Elzobier in the Sudan Tribune, this episode "has become an embarrassment for the Sudan government." Even if Lubna Hussein was spared the lash, her case called attention to the fact that more than 43,000 women have been arrested for violations of the indecency law, which requires that women who wear pants or dress "indecently" be taken to court and given 40 lashes. There's "something gravely hypocritical" when men hide behind the Koran to treat women so unjustly.

 

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