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Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 11:55 UK

Sudan trouser trial 'travel ban'

Lubna Hussein
Ms Hussein wants to make this a test case for women's rights in Sudan

A Sudanese woman charged with dressing indecently for wearing trousers says she has been stopped from going abroad.

Lubna Hussein says she tried to leave Sudan on Tuesday to visit Lebanon where she had been invited to appear on a television programme.

She says an airport official said her name had been put on a blacklist last Friday, the day she was invited to France by President Nicholas Sarkozy.

If convicted in a month's time, she could face up to 40 lashes.

Ms Hussein resigned from a UN job that would have given her immunity, indicating she wants her trial it to become a test case for women's rights in Sudan.

Ms Hussein, who is on bail, said she was going to Lebanon to participate in a talk show hosted by Al-Arabiya television.

Her lawyer Nabil Adib Abdalla told Reuters news agency that she should be free to travel.

"If the intent is to prevent me from speaking or censor my words... they are then naive, because I can speak on the phone, through satellite, anytime," Ms Hussein told the Associated Press news agency.

Under a 2005 peace deal between the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south, Sharia law is not supposed to be applied to non-Muslims living in the capital.

The BBC's James Copnall in the capital, Khartoum, says it is not that unusual to see women - both Muslim and non-Muslim - wearing trousers in the city.

Ms Hussein says she has done nothing wrong under Sharia law, but could fall foul of a paragraph in Sudanese criminal law that forbids indecent clothing.



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