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Imprisonment of Lubna Hussein and Detention of a World Pulse Member

UPDATED BELOW(8-9-2009) - NEW UPDATES (9-9-2009)

Today, a Sudanese court in Khartoum sentenced Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein to a fine of $200 or a one month imprisonment, in the case of non-payment.

Lubna Hussein was apprehended July 3 by a public order police raid of a restaurant in Khartoum. Among the 13 women detained with the journalist, 10 were fined and flogged, in the absence of defense and their families. Some of the accused were minors and Christians.

Worth noting, this story first emerged from World Pulse's community newswire, PulseWire. (http://www.worldpulse.com/node/11570).

Lubna who has refused to pay a (penny) in consistence with her principals, has been tried and will pass her first night in prison according to article 152 of the criminal law from 1991 that considers wearing pants in public places an indecent act that deserves flogging and fining.

According to the director of police, in 2008 the number of women arrested in Khartoum state for clothing offenses was estimated at 43,000. He could not verify the exact number of women who had been flogged or fined.

Miss Hussein, who works as spokesperson for the office of the United Nations Mission in Sudan and is a reporter of the Al Sahafa daily newspaper, has rejected immunity offered by the UN, resigned from her post and decided to face the Sudanese authorities to show the world the situation for women under this article. Hussein, who is also a politician, has received offers of political asylum from a number of countries including France. She justifies that her case isn’t an isolated one and that she will not leave Sudan before the end of the trial.

In a recent development in Khartoum, the public order police have beaten, injured and arrested 48 women journalists, activists and politicians, who have been participating in a demonstration of solidarity with the Sudanese journalist. Worth noting, Dr. Ihssan Fagiri, who has joined PulseWire recently (http://www.worldpulse.com/node/12599), is a physician and the Secretary General of the Sudanese Women's Union. She was among the women who were detained for four hours and transferred to the prison where a number of lawyers rushed in for legal procedures and released them. Among them were mothers who had recently given birth and needed to be beside their babies.

On the other hand, a famous fanatic journalist described last week in his editorial, that women and men who lead manifestations in support of Lubna’s case are "prostitutes" and "gays". Ishaq Ahmed Fadallah, editor in chief of “ Al Wifaq” Arabic daily newspaper, and one of the ardent supporters of the Islamic government, wanted to prepare the public for the rejection of Lubna’s case and deliver a message that without the public order police, the balance of the society would be disrupted.

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UPDATES (8-9-2009)

In a recent development The Sudanese Union of Journalists has secured this evening the release of Miss Hussein, without her consent. Lubna who had spent a day in jail, refused to leave the prison, but the prison administration refused to allow her to stay after receiving the release order from the court.

Lubna is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow.

Worth mentioning the Union of Journalists which is chaired and directed by a pro government personnel, has remained silent over the past period of the trial. And it has never supported or defended journalists who had undergone frequent arrest or torture.
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UPDATES (9-9-2009)

In a telephone call with the World Pulse this evening, Lubna expressed rejection of the fine payment and releasing her without her consent justifying that there are female prisoners in need of having their fine paid and freed immediately. “I thank the head of the Sudanese journalist Union for visiting me in prison but not for payment of the fine». She added that she knew about paying the fine upon getting outside the prison and meeting a group of journalists who were not allowed to get in with the Union of journalist.

Miss Hussein, who did not waste time to study cases of female prisoners at the Women Prison of Omdurman, reported two cases of women prisoners one of them is on her way to freedom. «There is a woman in prison with the two-week-old child deserves her fine paid and released instead of me.” She also highlighted on a case of a southerner university student who is sentenced in accordance with the Public Order Act that contradicts her religion and was serving three months detention for the same accusation as hers.

About her feeling when released, she said that she wanted to stay more time in prison “to know more about what is going on in this place.” She said. Over the night she spent in jail, she conducted 2 interviews with “Al Arabiya Satellite Channel, based in Dubhai, and “Al Ahram” daily Arabic Egyptian newspaper. Adding that jailers came at early hours in the morning sought her and her cell thoroughly . according to her story they dragged her to the yard where they conducted an intensive investigations and tried to find an explanation for the incident. “I told them that technology has greatly evolved and can be obtained anywhere”.
Hussein has told world pulse that her release isn’t the final step and that she hasn’t decided yet the next step.

On the other hand, Mohey Eldeen Titawi who responsible for freeing Hussein, told yesterday Al Sharq Al Awsat daily Arabic newspaper that The Sudanese Journalists Union, yesterday morning requested the court north of Khartoum, which issued the verdict against Hussein to clarify whether it was possible to pay the fine in return for releasing Lubna. He added that the judge told them of the possibility, and he «as head of the Union of Journalists” made the payment before the competent judge who issued the release formal letter addressed to the director of Women Prison.”We went there and met the Director prison who set Miss Hussein free”.
Titawi added that the case was over and that journalists should not be detained under any circumstances. It is to be noted that this the first time the Sudanese Journalists Union move to contain a case. This year two Sudanese journalists had been detained for a period of time.

Likewise France has praised the «battle of courage» waged by the Sudanese press woman for women's rights in the Sudan.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Valle told reporters «France deeply regrets the decision of the Court of Khartoum, which accused the journalist of acting against morality and condemned her to pay a fine or to be imprisoned for a month».
The Amnesty International called this week, the Sudanese authorities to repeal article 152 and drop the charges against Lubna Hussein.
The organization said in a statement that «the way this law is used against women is unacceptable and the punishment determined by is unreasonable». She added that «the law is drafted so that it is impossible to know what is the difference between decent and indecent» which opens the door to the police to abuse its application, and leaves to the judge the assessment of the violation.

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Comments

lindalubin's picture

Thank you

Halima, thank you for continuing to report on this important story. Today I read the latest update in The New York Times, and saw a report on NBC news, here in the U.S. Without your original reporting, the world would not now know of the power of Ms. Hussein's proud and brave stand, and the impact it is having. This will give hope to many throughout the world. Bravo to you for making this happen. A tree may fall in a forest, but without witness it will not make a sound. You have made a sound that is now heard around the world. It will become a roar as more and more women take heart and stand up to oppression, knowing the world is watching and listening.

Linda

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanks

Linda,

Million thanks for passing and sharing this comment. You made my day.

Love,

Halima

Nusrat Ara's picture

I wonder how fast is the

I wonder how fast is the justice system in case of criminals and rapists in Sudan. Lubna is a courageous woman . To stand up for what one believes is right is great but to be committed to stand up for all the women is marvellous. She deserves all the appreciation and support.

Nusrat

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

All respect to Lubna

Nusrat,

As you said Lubna is a courageous woman that deserves appreciation, support ,respect and celebration because she has brrought the case of Sudanese women outside boundaries of sudan and put it under focus...

Thanks,

Halima

Kizzie's picture

Halima, How are you? I wonder

Halima,

How are you?

I wonder if the number of arrests for clothing offenses is true, I didn't feel this way in Sudan. This was the case in the 1990's, but they are very lenient now. Is the government becoming stricter after the ICC decision? Are they losing grounds, is that why they are doing it?

best wishes,
Kizzie

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Nubmer is very true

How are you? where have you been?
Unfortuantely Kizzie the source of the information is the director of the police himself.. i will try to fetch the link or the name of the sudanese newspaper which published this information. By the way as far as i know the director didn't deny this information.

"lenient" ? I don't agree with you dear Kizzie. If so how you justify Lubna's and the 13 girls arrest on last July? And the arrests that followed?
It is true after the ICC decision the government became "fierce", but it is always tough and rough and handling the situation..Briefly the government is the same government since 1989, following the same track and terrifying innocent people. i haven't felt softer or lenient part.

love,

N.B
Pls let us keep contact

Kizzie's picture

Hey Halima, Busy with ramadan

Hey Halima,

Busy with ramadan to be honest. It's a busy month, a lot to do and so much people to meet.
Well the main witness didn't even know the color of her outfit that day!
I still think they are lenient, I remember covering my hair and wearing really loose outfits at the age of 10 and 12. I'm not saying they dropped the law or anything, but from what I've seen over the years, I don't feel at risk as much. All women I know wear pants, they don't get arrested. They are much softer on the dress code now, but there are some extreme measures sometimes.

yeah we should.

Are you going to Ramadan soon?

Kizzie

misscarly's picture

Thank you for the update

Dear Halima,

Thank you for keeping us up-to-date as the situation unfolds. Your tireless work is impressive and I really appreciate that we can hear your perspective and analysis on the latest developments. Lubna is an amazing and admirable woman. I look forward to hearing about the press conference. Continue to keep your ear to the ground.

love,
carly

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thank you

Dear Carly,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and commenting on my post. your words have generated an immense effect on me and pushed forward.

again thank you ... you made my day..

Love,

Halima

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Thak you Halima

Halima,
Your courage and efforts to bring to the World cases like this which threatens the developmet of women and our work is worth SALUTING you!
Good job for bringing this to light so we can all act to create a safe environment for women all over the world.

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Women solidarity

Gifty,

You have drawn my attention to the fact that what is going on this site and the way we are interacting is the solid basis of women solidarity. We have already laid down the foundation stone and here is the building arising; YOUR INTERACTION.

Lots of love

Halima

olakitike's picture

Thank you for keeping us posted.

Thank you for updating us about this situation. Lubna is such a courageous woman. Thank you Halima for bringing her story to us.

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

A thousand mile journey

Dear olakitike,

Thank you so much for sharing this comment.. as you said Lubna is a courageous women who has shouldered the task of canceling flogging and the law that approves it. As it is said the thousand mile journey starts with a step.

Love

Halima

Dando's picture

I admire her courage

she is truely a couragous and determined woman.
Her stance to prove her innocence is amazing.

I wish her all the success in her career and personal life.
Thanks Halima for your passion and hardwork of in-lighting the world on what is happening in your country.

Love!

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanks

Hi Dando,

Thank you Dando for passing and sharing this comment of solidarity and love. Lubna did her best and succeeded in putting this situation into international focus. "Those" who think that is case is closed and the situation is over are dreaming..

Thank you again for this comment.

Love,

Halima

hhhhamada's picture

Thank you for keeping us up to date

Dear Halima,

Thank you for keeping us current on the amazing story of Lubna Hussein and her fight for what she believes is right. What a courageous and forthright woman. I'm honored to know of her life and grateful to you for bringing such a powerful journalist to us.

Love,
Helen

Love,
Helen

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thank you

Dearest Helen,

Thank you so much for sharing this informative comment. As you said Lubna is a courageous fortright woman who has stood for what she believes is right to the end.
Again thank you so much for always encouraging me and pushing forward to excel in my career.

Love,
Halima

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Thanks

It is great to read of the brave and courageous woman who fearlessly stand up for what is right like this. Thank you for posting about it.

I really admire this woman and look forward to hearing more from her and how to help the Sudanese woman. Hopefully so much international attention to this matter will help change the laws for the better.

It is so inspiring to hear how we are making a difference for woman around the world, little by little like this. Please keep us posted and let her know that interest is still very high in what is happening with her and the woman there.

Maria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Making a difference

Dear Maria,

As you said Maria that we, as citizen correspondents, we are making a difference for women worldwide. Every day I read a story on this giant website, I feel that I have done the right thing in my life. It is much ..much encouraging that as women and human beings, our worlds are now open to each other. That is the essential.

Again thank you so much for this inspiring comment.

Love,
Halima

Corine Milano's picture

To Halima and those following

To Halima and those following these updates: please note that because of your courageous reporting, World Pulse has updated our Urgent Action to direct our readers to an Amnesty International petition relating to Lubna Hussein's imprisonment and Sudan's laws.

You can find it here: http://worldpulse.com/magazine/actions/pressure-sudanese-government-to-r...

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Endless efforts

Hi Corine,

Thank you so much for your endless efforts to have readers highlighted on latest developments on the issue of the courageous Sudanese journalist, Lubna Hussein and for directing them to an Amnesty International petition pertaining to this issue.

Love,

Halima

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