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Sudanese Reporter Sentenced to Flogging for Wearing Pants in Public!

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A Breaking News Story by World Pulse correspondent and citizen journalist, Halima Mohamed Abdel Rahman

A Sudanese journalist was sentenced by a Khartoum court to public flogging in the coming days for wearing pants.

Lubna Hussein, 34-year-old, public information assistant , the spokesperson of the office of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, and reporter of Al Sahafa daily newspaper, was apprehended last week for a couple of hours and accused among ten others, as "dressed, contrary to public sense, in a way that provokes sexual sensation", stated by the Central Khartoum public order court (Saj-jana).

The young reporter will be flogged (40) lashes as a result for wearing pants allegedly indecent (see the attached photos)

Ms. Hussein's attempts to send a public invitation to a large public through newspapers 'to witness the great scandal and how women are treated in Sudan' as she said, was withheld, as well as her photos by the National Intelligence and Security Service officers, whose daily job is to go through the newspapers before to be sent to the printing presses.

‘Luckily I managed to distribute more than five-hundred(500) invitation cards to satellite channels and websites’ she told World Pulse over a telephone call.

The Court did not specify the date of flogging and it is to be determined later whereas the other ten women arrested with her were flagellated the same hour, in the absence of defense, relatives or official representatives.

As provided in article (152) of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1991, wearing pantaloons classifies as "Obscenity and against the public norms and order and violation of public morality" Any act committed by an individual in a public place, contradicting to public morality or feelings will be punishable with whipping that shouldn't exceeds forty lashes or a fine or both.

According to the law this punishment spares no one regardless of religious, cultural or societal orientations. Actions that subject people to such punishment include any act that is in violation of the criterion of the religion embraced by the offender or the norms of the country in which the defined act is committed as the article specifies.

In an email distributed to a large number of journalist, human rights activists, lawyers, and posted on Sudanese online forum (http://www.sudaneseonline.com/cgi-bin/sdb/2bb.cgi?seq=msg&board=240&msg=...), Ms Hussein pledged to fight for the elimination of such a law crippling the progress of Sudanese women.

"Dear friends I hope that this is not to be considered as personal case or that the government is targeting me in person. It is the case of those women and minors who have undergone this harsh punishment the same moment of apprehension. It is the case of hundreds of thousands of girls who are lashed or will be lashed daily or monthly or annually in the courts of public order because of the clothing. Those who suffer physically and have to bear societal stigmatization, the psychological effects on their lives, sons, and families and may be for generations..." she wrote.

Lubna a well known journalist she writes a regular column "Men Talk" in Alsahafa, one of most popular Arabic daily newspaper, and founded by her late husband Abdul Rahman Mukhtar. In her column she criticizes courageously the situations in Sudan as well as the orientations of the Sudanese sitting government and the militant fanatic Islamists alike.

Worth noting, this is not the first time the Sudanese authority detained Ms Hussein, who is a political activist. As member of the National Unionist Party, she has been arrested and apprehending many times while she was a college student.

She was one of the active figures, particularly when she in charge of editing a woman magazine issued by her party and addressing mainly the Sudanese university students. It is well known that the government thought to tighten its grip on the press through confiscation, suspension and fining.

Under the censorship imposed by the Sudanese National Security Act of 1999, many newspapers and reporters have been subject to arrest apprehension and fining, including Amal Abbas, Hadiya Ali, Hussein Khogali , Sid Ahmed Khalifa and Osman Merghani etc. But this is the first time that a reporter was sentenced to be flogged.

As concerns the case of Ms. Hussein press, websites and human rights organizations condemned the decision taken by the Public Order Court. The Arabic Network for Human Rights, issued last Wednesday, a statement posted on the Sudanese forum, expressing deep concern about the decision taken by the Khartoum regime to flog opposing journalist, and called the government to reconsider that decision which contradicts all human rights principles.

Also Ajrass alhuriya (Bells of Freedom), a pro - Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) daily newspaper, organized this evening a symposium attended by a large number of people. The symposium called on the demolition of the 1991 Criminal Procedure Code and urged the government to take into account the multiplicity of ethnic groups in Sudan. "The event is expected to be aired by Al Arabiya channel satellite, based in Dubai later this night", said Deng Goc a reporter in Ajrass Alhuriyya in a telephone call.

Halima is part of World Pulse’s Voices of Our Future, a new network of women citizen journalists reporting from some of most unheard regions of the world.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Thank you, Halima

Thank you for getting this story out. All of us in your network will help push this out. This inhumane and barbaric treatment of women MUST STOP.

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

sufferings... sufferings

I brought it to this platform to shed light on the situation of women in Sudan based on daily sufferings.
Am so proud to be here and appreciate your continuous support, help and encouragement. Thank you so much Jennifer.

Hi Halima,
thanks for sharing this story. i am reading it wtih my colleagues. This must stop, i agree with Jennifer.
What is the reaction of people in your country?

What Is the UN organisation she is working for saying about this? What about Unicef? do you know?

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Gifty,

This is male's mentality which sees woman, whether educated or not, as a weak partner, incapable of mastering or directing her life or behavior in a way that satisfies this mentality's norms or notions. As far as such thinking dominates, woman will be exposed to such mistreatment.

ِِِِI believe that as women we have to stand against this mentality and win the fight sooner or later. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY OUT.

Halima

Arda's picture

Unbelievable....

Thank you so much for sharing this article. It's unbelievable how much fear there is from the slight hint of a woman's sexuality!!

These days I find myself saying: "I wonder what it was like to live in the 70s"...the 70s seemed so promising in terms of liberation/freedom/emancipation/etc. I bet women back in the 70s were thinking ''Oh by the time we're in the millenium, things would be even better.''

And yet here we are; watching the world turn backwards from being colored and turning into black and white!!

Is it a cycle, you think?? From puritism to modernism and back to fundamentalism? Does this mean the cycle will be back and the world will learn nothing??

I wonder what your thoughts are on this matter!!

Arda

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Stuck in one place

Dear Arda,

first let us say this is one of the many aspects of inhumane practices undertaken directed or indirectly towards a large segment of society especially women. By the way they are numerous and I would like to discuss them one day. No need to remind that this is however against Islam and human rights conventions and social norms.

Concerning "puritism to modernism and back to fundamentalism" as I quoted you, I am afraid to say that we are stuck in one place. Fundamentalism. May be evolving in prehistoric periods. I am quite sure of one thing:Generations separate us from modernism and modernity.Period.

Warm Regards,

Halima

asha's picture

Be Grateful for your Abaya Halima

Halo....You should be happy wrapped up in your abaya Haleema ; but be sure our daughters and ourselves and even our men are respectfully dresses (whatever that means) ; I mean at a time when a third of the nation - if not half- are roaming the streets half naked , hungry , hopeless with poverty and need.
Lubna has made a big change with her response and I hope we pick up the que.
Salam
asha

asha

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Tazeem salam

‘Tazeem salam’ and Welcome teacher and mother Asha Musa.. We have the honor to have you among future leaders on this great website.

The last 4 days had been busy with my husband, who had left for Yemen for 2 weeks.
So sorry for responding late to your rich comment which sparked lots of memories.
Going back to it. You have targeted the core of the problem; having half the nation immigrated, displaced, traumatized by war, deteriorating economical condition, etc, that doesn’t matter much. No subject seems to receive more official attention than women’s dress as if they are roaming streets naked. WHAT ABSURDITY!
What behind this issue is well known to every one. Suppressing women and subduing their movement is the essential. This may explain why women dress is a mere facet of this concern.
Paradoxically, at the time country far parts falling apart, women suppression comes to the top.

Again Tazeem salam and lots of love,

Halima

hhhhamada's picture

Brave and bold

Halima,

Your article is both brave and bold. Thank you for speaking out and risking yourself to bring this story to us. It is somewhat shocking that in today's world, women can still be flogged for their attire. While I'm not in love with all of the "fashion" that women sport, wearing pants seems in many cases appropriate. Since I have worn pants most of my life, I feel particularly close to this issue. May change come to your part of the world because of women like you.

Love,
Helen

Love,
Helen

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thank you

Dear Helen,

Thank you so much for sharing this comment. It is shocking to be flogged for attire as you said, In a country famous for ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity, it so choking to deprive a woman the right to wear a dress of her choice. So chocking to be treated in such a way.

Love,

Halima

Pam_Saulet's picture

Courage

It must have taken great courage for Lubna to turn down the immunity that the judge offered, and to risk this physical punishment, congratulations in brining this story to the world's attention, and good luck.

Pam

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Dear Pam, Lubna is a very

Dear Pam,

Lubna is a very courageous women. She is now fighting for cancellation of article 152 of the Criminal Code that allows flogging women. Under this article hundreds, if not thousands, of women were flogged/ and exposed to flogging since 1991. Hussein who is now supported by the political parties, is fighting against this law. Her case draws the international attention towards the situation of women under the Islamic government.

The link below is an AP coverage, prepared by a friend of mine, on yesterday's women demonstration supporting Lubna and how the Sudanese police had beaten women opposing dress code and oppression. Please visit the following link:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hRD66e7D6mHUZJECYSQeJL...

Anette Leslie's picture

Thank you Halima, Your

Thank you Halima,

Your article was quite timely as I am currently facing some challenges and this article about a woman of courage really inspired me.

Anette

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanks

Hi Anette,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and commenting on my article!

Halima

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

High time to act

Dear Prom Dress,

It is sad to hear that women in rural areas in Nepal are treated the same way as in conservative
Sudan. I agree with you that it is high time to support each other regardless of ethnicity, society or religion. It is time to act.

Love,

Halima

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Women shouldn't be punished

Women shouldn't be punished for wearing pants, but that wasn't the case in my country. They are punished for wearing pants, skirt,selling food or tea or whatever the police judges deserve flogging. No law limits to flogging there. NO!
Many thanks sister.

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Time to react!

thank you bancs for passing and sharing this comment. Am astonished that women in your country are treated the same way as women in my country! Women should unite and support each other to overcome such injustice and male dominance. Women should react NOW!

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Welcome!

Hey speedbabad,

Thank you so much for sharing this comment. You are most welcome! Am so happy to have read that my article has highlighted on the situation of women in my country and provided you with good information. Hoping that you enjoy this online vibrant community.

In friendship,

Halima

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Made my day!

Thank you so much my dear friend.

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