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2 women in Sudan sentenced for wearing pants

The ruling comes weeks after a similar case caused an uproar.

October 23, 2009|Reuters

KHARTOUM, SUDAN — Two Sudanese women Thursday were sentenced to 20 lashes and fined for committing an act of indecency by wearing trousers, weeks after a similar case sparked worldwide controversy.

The two women were arrested at the same party as Lubna Hussein, a former journalist who was also charged with wearing trousers and publicized her case as part of a campaign against Sudan's public-order laws.

Judge Hassan Mohamed Ali sentenced each woman to 20 lashes and a $110 fine in a Khartoum courtroom.

The women's supporters told journalists that the punishment, often carried out immediately after a conviction, was postponed after the women filed an appeal.

Hussein, who was in court Thursday, said the latest sentencing showed that her campaign still had a long way to go.

"The campaign has succeeded in showing the world that there are unfair laws against women in Sudan. But we will keep on fighting," she said.

The two women, ages 25 and 27 and both Muslim, would not give their names to journalists.

Indecency cases are not uncommon in Sudan, where there is a cultural gap between the mostly Muslim north and the south, dominated by Christians and followers of traditional beliefs.

Many women activists complain that Sudan's public-order regulations are vague and give individual police officers undue latitude to determine what is considered decent clothing for women.

Hussein was jailed in September after refusing to pay a fine for the same offense.

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