A Sudanese court began hearing Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein’s case on Wednesday after she was one of 13 women arrested on July 3 for wearing trousers in public. Al-Hussein was sentenced earlier this month to 40 lashings, but as a public information officer for the United Nations, she has immunity from the flogging. She announced yesterday, however, that she is resigning from her position with the United Nations in order to challenge the sentence, reported the Associated Press.
Al-Hussein invited 500 supporters to her hearing, most of whom wore trousers as a show of support. She wore the same clothes she wore the day of her arrest, green slacks with a loose top and green headscarf, according to the AFP.
Nabil Adib Abdullah, her lawyer, told reporters, “First of all she wants to show she is innocent, and using her immunity will not prove that. Second, she wants to fight the law,” according to the Times. Khartoum and Sudan’s Muslim north operates under strict Muslim Sharia law. Though non-Muslim women are supposedly exempt from these laws, flogging is a common sentence endured by many Sudanese women.