I blogged earlier about Lubna Hussein (here and here), a Sudanese woman arrested for wearing trousers in public. Hussein is willingly becoming a feminist cause célèbre, first by refusing United Nations immunity and now by refusing to pay the court imposed fine which will result in a month long imprisonment.
The case has made headlines in Sudan and around the world and Hussein used it to rally world opinion against the country’s strict morality laws based upon conservative interpretations of Islam.
Ahead of the trial, police rounded up dozens of female demonstrators, many of them wearing trousers, outside the courtroom.
The London-based Amnesty International called on the Sudanese government to withdraw the charges against Hussein and repeal the law which justifies “abhorrent” penalties.
The trial had earlier been postponed, but now Hussein has been convicted. Although she was not sentenced to public flogging, as happened to many others arrested with her, and the minimal ($200) fine indicates the government would just as soon avoid a public spectacle, Hussein won’t let that happen. She refuses to pay the fine and is forcing the government to imprison her.
“I will not pay a penny,” she told the Associated Press while still in court custody.
Hussein said Friday she would rather go to jail than pay any fine.
“I won’t pay, as a matter of principle,” she said. “I would spend a month in jail. It is a chance to explore the conditions of jail.”
Howard Friedman, a retired law professor, watches all things at the intersection of law and religion on his blog, Religion Clause. Today, he reports on a relaxation of dress standards for women lawyers in Gaza but also more stringent standards for school girls.