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Sudan woman banned from travel

KHARTOUM, Aug 11 – A Sudanese woman journalist who risks 40 lashes for wearing trousers said on Tuesday that the authorities have banned her from travelling to Lebanon to take part in a talk show.

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein told AFP she was due to leave overnight for Lebanon to tape a television show but that police at the Khartoum airport prevented her from boarding her plane.

"They told me that due to a decision from August 7, I was banned from travelling abroad," Hussein said. "I asked them to show me a written document containing the decision but they were unable to do so."

Hussein, a widow in her 30s, was charged with public indecency under Sudan’s Islamic law after she was arrested last month along with 12 other women who were wearing trousers at a Khartoum restaurant.

Her trial has been adjourned to September 7 to determine whether Hussein, a journalist who works for a Sudanese newspaper as well as with the United Nations press office in Khartoum, has legal immunity.

Hussein has said she wants to be tried to challenge a law that decrees a punishment of whipping for people wearing "indecent" clothes, and told a hearing last week that she wished to waive her UN immunity.

Ten women have already been whipped for the same offence — including Christians — and Hussein has said she will fight a guilty verdict and the law itself.

Hussein’s case has triggered widespread outrage at home and abroad.

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At the last hearing on August 4, Sudanese riot police used tear gas against hundreds of people demonstrating outside the Khartoum courtroom in protest at the trial, including activists from opposition parties.

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