The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Sudanese Woman in Prison for Wearing Trousers

Sep 14, 2009

On September 7 in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein was condemned to pay a $200 fine or spend a month in prison for wearing “indecent clothes.” What indecent clothes? Trousers!

In fact, this courageous woman could have received a sentence of forty lashes from the whip. But her case became infamous thanks to her contacts in the international media. So she was spared that horror of Sharia law, although dozens of other Sudanese women arrested with her were not.

Lubna Hussein, who is fighting for the repeal of this reactionary law enacted by the military and religious dictatorship in power since 1991, has refused to pay the fine and so went to prison. She wants to make her trial and imprisonment a symbol of the 43,000 women arrested for “indecent dress” in the Khartoum region since the law went into effect.

Dozens of women demonstrators accompanied Hussein when she went to court; the police arrested 43 of them. She got out of prison after one day because the journalist union paid her fine, although she had not requested it. Lubna said upon leaving the prison, “I’m not happy because there are more than 700 women still in prison, and there is no one who is paying their fines.”

In her fight, Hussein is supported by all those who support the rights of women. The U.S. government, however, had nothing to say about this case.

That’s no surprise! The U.S. government keeps quiet about the lack of rights of women living under numerous fundamentalist regimes, including Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.