40 lashes for a pair of trousers...
She managed to escape the Sudan and is now in France...
Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein said Tuesday she had donned a full Islamic veil to sneak out of Sudan and travel to France, two months after she was freed from jail for wearing trousers.Will Sudan let her back in?
On a visit to Paris to promote her new book, Hussein accused Khartoum of trying to block her departure and said she was determined to exercise her right to travel freely as she met Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
"They wanted to prevent me from leaving, I resorted to the niqab and managed to leave," said Hussein, who was jailed for a day in September for violating Sudan's clothing decency laws by wearing trousers.
"I requested documents to be able to leave, to be able to travel, and this is the only means I found to be able to leave Sudan," she told journalists. "I did not flee Sudan. I am a Sudanese citizen."
Hussein faced a punishment of 40 lashes when she was convicted in July for wearing her green trousers in public.
But a Sudanese court in September ordered her to pay a fine instead, while 10 of the 12 other women arrested with her at a Khartoum restaurant on July 3 were lashed.
After she refused to pay the fine, Hussein served a one-day jail sentence.
Hussein arrived in Paris last week to promote her new book "40 coups de fouet pour un pantalon" (Forty Lashes for a Pair of Trousers) released in French. The book is to be translated in English and other languages.
She has been hosted by the French women's rights group "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" (Neither Whores Nor Submissives) which has been outspoken on issues dealing with the repression of Muslim women.
According to the chairwoman of the group, Sihem Habchi, Hussein left Sudan by air on September 18 and flew first to Sanaa in Yemen, before travelling on to Cairo and then Amman before arriving in France.
At each stage of the trip she met with local women's rights groups. She is due to leave France on December 4 to go again to Egypt, where she is to receive an award, and does not intend to leave Sudan for good, Habchi said.
At her meeting with Kouchner, Hussein took another swipe at the Sudanese judges who told her that wearing trousers was banned by Sharia law.
"I told them: 'Show me the text that justifies this repression of women based on their clothing.'
"But no one was able to, because such a text does not exist. It only exists in their heads."