Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein could receive 40 lashes if found guilty of violating the country's indecency law which follows a strict interpretation of Islam. The 43-year-old says the law is un-Islamic and "oppressive," and she's trying to use her trial to rally support to change it.
"I am not afraid of flogging. ... It's about changing the law," Hussein said, speaking to The Associated Press after a hearing Tuesday.
Hussein said she would take the issue all the way to Sudan's constitutional court if necessary, but that if the court rules against her and orders the flogging, she's ready "to receive (even) 40,000 lashes" if that what it takes to abolish the law.
Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by thepolice on a popular cafe in Khartoum. Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days later. But Hussein and two others decided to go to trial.
In an attempt to rally support, Hussein printed invitations to diplomats, international media, and activists to attend her trial which opened last week. She also resigned from her job in the U.N.'s public information office in Khartoum, declining the immunity that went along with the job to challenge the law.
Around 100 supporters, including many women in trousers as well as others in traditional dress, protested outside the court Tuesday.
Witnesses said police wielding batons beat up one of Hussein's lawyers, Manal Awad Khogali, while keeping media and cameras at bay. No injuries were immediately reported.