The trial of Lubna Ahmed al Hussein, a Sudanese woman journalist who risks 40 lashes if convicted of "indecency" for wearing trousers, is expected to resume today. Ms Hussein, a widow in her 30s, was charged with public indecency under Sudan's Islamic law after she was arrested in July along with 12 other women who were wearing trousers at a Khartoum restaurant. On Friday, London-based rights group Amnesty International urged the Khartoum government to withdraw the charges, saying the law used to justify flogging women for wearing clothes deemed "indecent" should be repealed.
Today's hearing is expected to determine whether Ms Hussein, who works for a Sudanese newspaper as well as with the United Nations press office in Khartoum, has legal immunity. Ms Hussein has said she wants to be tried to challenge the law, and that she wished to waive her UN immunity. Ten women have already been whipped for the same offence, including Christians, and Ms Hussein has said she will fight a guilty verdict and the law itself.
Her case has triggered widespread outrage at home and abroad. At the last hearing on August 4, riot police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating outside the Khartoum courtroom in protest at the trial, including activists from opposition parties. *AFP