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40 lashes


A Sudanese woman facing 40 lashes for wearing pants declared she was ready for thousands as she battles the country's laws.
Lubna-Ahmed al-Hussein, a journalist with the United Nations Mission in Sudan, is on trial after being arrested July 3 along with 12 other women for wearing trousers at a restaurant in Khartoum,
Agence France-Presse reported. Sudanese law calls for 40 lashes for anyone "who commits an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing." For women, indecent clothing includes the outfit Hussein wore when she was arrested and again during her first hearing on July 29: a loose-fitting top, headscarf and green slacks.
Ten of the women arrested have already accepted punishment of 10 lashes each, but Hussein and two other women still face charges.
Hussein has appealed her case in the hope of bringing international attention to the plight of Sudanese women. She waived her immunity as a U.N. worker in the case and told AFP her goal is to have the law regulating clothing repealed.
"If I'm sentenced to be whipped, or to anything else, I will appeal. I will see it through to the end, to the constitutional court if necessary," Hussein said. "And if the constitutional court says the law is constitutional, I'm ready to be whipped not 40 but 40,000 times."
Hussein told AFP thousands of women have been flogged for their clothing over the last two decades, but it is not publicized because those prosecuted fear no one would believe them. By becoming a voice for these women, Hussein said, "I've already won half the battle."
Hussein is scheduled to be judged Tuesday and she said she plans to wear the same "indecent" outfit to court.

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