Sudan frees "trouser" woman after one day in jail
Journalists' union pays $200 fine for Lubna Hussein's release
A Sudanese woman jailed for wearing trousers deemed indecent in a landmark court case was freed on Tuesday after the country's journalist union paid a $209 fine on her behalf, the head of the media body said.
Lubna Hussein was convicted on indecency charges on Monday in a case that has attracted worldwide outcry, and was ordered to pay a fine or face a month in jail, but was spared a harsher penalty of 40 lashes.
"She came out of prison. We paid the 500 pound ($200) fine," Mohedinne Titawi, president of the union, told AFP.
Hussein was imprisoned on Monday after she refused to pay the fine imposed earlier the same day by a Khartoum court for wearing trousers deemed indecent. She could have faced one month in jail.
The journalist was wearing slacks when she was arrested along with 12 other women in a Khartoum restaurant in July.
Women in trousers are not a rare sight in Sudan but the authorities can take offence at trousers which reveal too much of a woman's shape, leading to accusations from rights groups that judgement is arbitrary.
Sudanese law in the conservative Muslim north stipulates a maximum of 40 lashes for wearing indecent clothing.
Ten of the women were arrested with her were summoned by police and flogged.
She came out of prison. We paid the 500 pound fine
Hussein led a public battle against the law, resigning from the United Nations, where she worked as a media officer, to stand trial.
The office of the UN human rights chief on Tuesday said her sentencing breached international law and exemplified the discrimination faced by women in Sudan.
"Lubna Hussein's case is, in our view, emblematic of a wider pattern of ... application of discriminatory laws against women in Sudan," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On Friday, Amnesty International urged the Khartoum government to withdraw the charges against Hussein, saying the law used to justify flogging women for wearing clothes deemed "indecent" should be repealed.
Lubna Hussein's case is, in our view, emblematic of a wider pattern of ... application of discriminatory laws against women in Sudan