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Cablegate: Sudan: Lubna Hussein, Nomination for 2010 International

VZCZCXRO9400
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1361 3411306
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071306Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4835
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0096
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001361

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, INR/AA, S/GWI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KWMN KPAO PHUM KTIP PINR NI

SUBJECT: SUDAN: LUBNA HUSSEIN, NOMINATION FOR 2010 INTERNATIONAL
WOMEN OF COURAGE AWARD

REF: A) STATE 111471 B) KHARTOUM 870 C) KHARTOUM 905 D) KHARTOUM
1036

1. (U) U.S. Embassy Khartoum nominates Lubna Hussein for the 2010
Secretary's Award for International Women of Courage.

2. (U) The Public Order Police of the Government of Sudan (GOS)
arrested Hussein in July, charging her with violating the Sudanese
law for "public appearance in indecent dress." At the time of her
arrest, Hussein was attending a social event at a restaurant in
Khartoum and was wearing loose-fitting long pants, a multi-layered
long-sleeved dress blouse, and a silk headscarf. Hussein refused to
accept the circumscribed punishment of either payment of a fine or
forty lashes, and instead challenged Sudanese authorities to a full
public trial. After numerous trial delays and public hearings,
Hussein served one day in jail but was freed when her fine for 500
Sudanese pounds (approximately USD 220) was paid on her behalf and
against her wishes by the pro-government Sudanese Journalists Union.


3. (SBU) Hussein attracted worldwide media attention for her adamant
stand in favor of women's rights, which began with her arrest and
has continued following her travels throughout the Middle East and
Europe. She has consistently stated that her goal is to overturn
Sudan's archaic Public Order Laws, which the GOS enacted in the
1980s to link Sudanese law more closely to Sharia law. Hussein
hopes that her efforts will prevent women from being lashed in the
future for subjective interpretations of ambiguous legal language
and for violating arbitrary enforcement of the Public Order Laws.
Sudanese civil society rallied to support her cause, and Hussein's
case took GOS authorities by surprise. Prior to the conclusion of
her trial, Hussein acknowledged receiving numerous anonymous
threats, including death and rape threats.

4. (SBU) Hussein is currently traveling in Europe. Post has not yet
informed Lubna Hussein of this nomination. This nomination has been
seconded by the Office of U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott
Gration.

5. (SBU) Post's Point of Contact for this nomination is
Political Officer Bonnie Long (longbd@state.gov).

WHITEHEAD

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