lubnaA Sudanese woman who was punished for breaching (insert: what authorities say are) Islamic decency laws by wearing trousers has defied a travel ban by coming to France to publicise her new book.

Lubna Hussein was arrested in July and convicted of indecency charges in a case that made headlines worldwide. She was ordered to pay a fine or face a month in jail, but was spared an initial penalty of 40 whip lashes.

Her book, “Forty lashes for a pair of trousers”, has come out in French and will be translated into English, Arabic, Swahili and other languages. (Photo: Lubna Hussein in Khartoum, 31 July, 2009/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh)

Thousands of women have been convicted of offences similar to Hussein’s and sentenced to beatings in recent years under Sudan’s Islamic decency regulations.

“This law and practice deform the image of Islam. No one has been able to find a text in the Koran which justifies flogging a woman for the way she is dressed,” Hussein, wearing mauve trousers and jacket, told Reuters in an interview in Paris.