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Lubna Hussein slips out of Sudan to fight against trouser ban

From The Sunday Times
Visiting France last week, Lubna Hussein said she had received death threats since beginning a campaign to stop the flogging and imprisonment of women who wear trousers.
She risked punishment for leaving Sudan illegally, but this would not stop her from exposing the “absurdity” of laws that humiliated women.
“Where does it state in the Koran that women can’t wear trousers?” said Hussein, a former United Nations official
Hussein, a widow in her late thirties, has written a book about her revolt and is expected to receive a hero’s welcome in London this week from opponents of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who seized power in Sudan two decades ago.
She was among 13 women arrested at a Khartoum cafe in July and charged with violating a “decency law” by wearing trousers. The others admitted guilt and were sentenced to 10 lashes of the whip. Hussein chose to contest the charges in court, risking 40 lashes.
The case generated such embarrassing publicity for the government that it offered to drop proceedings if Hussein would agree not to wear trousers. She refused.
She sent out hundreds of emails inviting people to witness her flogging, a punishment carried out in public with plastic whips that can leave permanent scars.
Dozens of supporters gathered outside the court on the day of her trial. Instead of a whipping, however, the court ordered Hussein to pay a fine. When she refused, she was briefly imprisoned. A government-backed press association paid the fine on her behalf to avoid further embarrassment for the authorities.
Another outrage, she believes, is the practice of female circumcision. In Sudan it is carried out on children between the ages of four and eight without anaesthetic. Deaths from infections and bleeding are common.
Hussein was seven when a so-called “purifier” with no medical training operated on her. A few days later it was the turn of her friend, but the operation went wrong. “A month later my friend was dead,” said Hussein.She would undoubtedly qualify for asylum in France but vows to return to her homeland to carry on fighting.
“If necessary, I am ready to die for this struggle,” she said.