Sudanese woman fined for wearing trousers
By Andrew Heavens
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A Sudanese woman was found guilty of indecency and fined on Monday for wearing trousers in a case that has attracted worldwide attention, but she will be spared lashes, an official who attended the trial said.
The woman, Lubna Hussein, was arrested at a party in July with 12 other women and had faced the possibility of 40 lashes for wearing trousers deemed indecent. The court ordered her to pay a fine of 500 pounds ($209) or face a month in jail.
Hussein's case was seen as a test of Sudan's Islamic decency regulations, which many women activists say are vague and give individual police officers undue latitude to determine what is acceptable clothing for women.
A former reporter who was working for the United Nations at the time of her arrest, Hussein has publicized her case, posing in loose trousers for photos and calling for media support.
Reached by telephone after the verdict, Hussein said she would refuse to pay the fine: "I will not pay the money, and I will go to prison."
Defense lawyer Nabil Adib Abdalla has previously said the law on indecent dress was so wide it contravened Hussein's right to a fair trial.
"She was found guilty, but we know she is not guilty ... This is a clear violation of the constitution, of women's rights, and the peace agreement," said Yasser Arman, a government official who attended the trial and is also a senior member of the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
Ten of the other women arrested with Hussein have pleaded guilty and have been whipped, Hussein previously said. Continued...