- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

KHARTOUM, Sudan (Agence France-Presse) | A well-known Sudanese female journalist is facing 40 lashes after being accused of wearing “indecent” clothes, with 10 women already whipped for similar offenses against Islamic law.

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who writes for the left-wing Al-Sahafa newspaper and works for the media department of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, was arrested in Khartoum last week and charged with dressing indecently.

Ms. al-Hussein told AFP she was at a restaurant on July 3 when police came in and ordered women wearing trousers to follow them to the police station.

“They took away me and 12 other young women, including southerners,” she said, referring to women from Sudan’s animist and Christian south where the Muslim north’s Islamic or Shariah law does not apply.

“Two days later, 10 of them were summoned to the police station in downtown Khartoum and given 10 lashes each,” said Ms. al-Hussein, who wears a hijab or Islamic headscarf.

The remaining three women, including Ms. al-Hussein, have been charged under Sudanese law with “committing an indecent act or one which violates public morality or wearing indecent clothes.”

If convicted, they face a mandatory 40 lashes. Ms. al-Hussein said she did not know when her case would be heard.

“I want people to know what happened,” she said.

Unlike some countries in the region, particularly in the Gulf, women have a prominent place in Sudanese public life. Nevertheless, human rights organizations say that some laws discriminate against women.

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