Times Wire Reports

A female journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public in violation of the country’s strict Islamic code told a packed Khartoum courtroom she is resigning from a U.N. job that grants her immunity so she can launch a legal challenge to the law.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a police raid on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan’s Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged two days later.

But Hussein and two other women decided they wanted to go to trial. Hussein invited human rights workers, Western diplomats and fellow journalists to the hearing.

“This is not a case about me wearing pants,” said Hussein, who works in the media department of the United Nations Mission in Sudan and contributes opinion pieces to a left-leaning Khartoum newspaper. “This article is against the constitution and even against Islamic law itself.”