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Bush honors a woman....who is actually a guy

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Bush praises man in speech on women's rights

Fri Mar 12, 7:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) has marked International Women's Week by paying tribute to women reformers -- but one of those he cited is really a man.

"Earlier today, the Libyan government released Fathi Jahmi. She's a local government official who was imprisoned in 2002 for advocating free speech and democracy," the president said in a speech at the White House on Friday.

The only problem was that, by all other accounts, "she" is in fact "he".

"Definitely male," said Alistair Hodgett, spokesman for the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International, whose representatives tried to see Jahmi in prison during a recent visit to Libya.

The U.S. House Committee on International Relations listed Jahmi as a 62-year-old civil engineer who was sentenced to five years in prison "after he reportedly stated during a session of the People's Conference ... that reform within Libya would never take place in the absence of a constitution, pluralism and democracy."

In remarks before a VIP audience, Bush cited Jahmi as a courageous reformer along with Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate living under house arrest in Myanmar.

All told, the president made references to more than a dozen other women ranging from his wife, first lady Laura Bush, to last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran. He also mentioned four men including Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) and Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who were both present.

"The advance of women's rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable," the president said. "We stand with courageous reformers."


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