Nick Kristof has a good scoop on his blog today — the back story on the arrest and case against Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein, as told by Ms. Hussein herself to an unidentified foreign woman in Khartoum. For an update on the case, check out our coverage from earlier today. An excerpt from Kristof’s post:
KHARTOUM – Kawkab Alsharq is the kind of cafe that encourages its customers to adopt it as a second office. With decent prices and friendly staff, you can go there any afternoon and see Sudanese journalists tapping away at their laptops, sipping the fresh orange juice that is its specialty. Spending two hours there with Lubna Hussein was akin to being in a family home. Lubna is now their most notorious customer, after being arrested there last month for the “crime” of wearing trousers. Talking to me the day before her trial, where she may face a public flogging, she was greeted by a constant stream of waiters and regulars wishing her well. If they are any indication, then in the court of public opinion at least, her case has already been decided.
After coming to power through a military coup in 1989, Omar Al Bashir’s government reformed the criminal laws of the country. Among the new laws introduced was Paragraph 152 of Criminal Act (1991), which states that “whoever commits an indecent act or an act that breaches public morality or wears clothes that are indecent or would breach public morality which causes annoyance to public feelings is liable to forty lashes or fine or both punishments.” It was under this law that twenty police came to Kawkab Alsharq on Friday July 3, and arrested Lubna and about 15 others.
The trousers Lubna was wearing that night were like the ones she wore when she met with me today – so loose-fitting as to make it difficult to discern in poor light whether they were trousers or a skirt. The police had to make her take a few paces and turn around in front of them to check that she was actually wearing the offensive article of clothing.
Read the full post here and then join in the conversation about this human rights case on Twitter #lubna.