Sudanese Reporter Sentenced to Flogging for Wearing Pants in Public!
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.