Sudan: Lubna al-Hussein prefers prison to a $200 fine

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Arrested on the 3rd of July along with twelve other women in a restaurant in Khartoum for wearing a pair of trousers, Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein was today, Monday, fined $ 200. The Sudanese journalist has been thrown to into prison for refusing to pay the fine. She could spend up to a month behind bars.

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein has been spared forty lashes for wearing a pair of trousers. The Khartoum court, Monday, condemned the Sudanese journalist for wearing a pair of trousers under an “indecency” law and asked her to pay a fine of $ 200, instead of forty lashes. According to the law, committing “an indecent act or an act that violates public morals” is punishable by 40 lashes administered in public.

It is under this article that Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein was arrested on July 3 for wearing indecent clothing in a restaurant in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. She was wearing a pair of long, loose, green trousers under a long lose top, which covered a good part of the trousers. A reform of the penal code conducted by the Omar el-Bashir government in 1991 stipulates that women are punishable by flogging if found guilty under the indecency law.

A dozen other women were arrested at the same time. The women had gone to see an Egyptian singer perform at a restaurant when police officers stormed the premises and arrested every woman they believed was indecently clothed. Those who pleaded guilty were flogged, fined and allowed to go home. Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein refused to comply with what she termed as a “humiliation of women” and rather launched a campaign to have the unjust law, which she says is not in line with the Shariah law but enforced in northern Sudan, abolished. “Her main argument is that her clothes are decent and that she did not break the law,” Nabil Adib Abdalla, Lubna’s defence lawyer said. Alerted, human rights organisations including Amnesty International have joined in the campaign to condemn the humiliating law.

Lubna’s fight continues

Lubna Hussein had deliberately resigned from her job at the communications department of the UN mission to Sudan in order to waive the immunity provided by the international organization. And her efforts apparently yielded the desired results. By changing the sentence from forty lashes to a fine, the Sudanese judiciary was forced to bow to international pressure, even if they tried not to appear as such.

But the case is far from over for Lubna al-Hussein, who upon leaving the court room on Monday hinted that she would not pay the $ 200 fine, even if it meant she had to go to jail.

Miss Lubna was sent put behind bars on Monday.

Lubna al-Hussein wants to fight for women to live as free human beings instead of constant harassment and humiliation by ensuring a total abrogation of Article 152, which she says is “contrary to the Constitution and the Sharia.”

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