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UK teacher jailed over teddy row

ICC Note

“Having said this, 15 days in a Sudanese prison for an innocent misunderstanding is a serious and harsh punishment indeed.”

November 30, 2007 Sudan (BBC News)-A British teacher has been found guilty in Sudan of insulting religion after she allowed her primary school class to name a teddy bear Muhammad. Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool , has been sentenced to 15 days in prison and will then be deported.

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Officials said that during his 45-minute meeting Mr Miliband also spoke to the Sudanese acting foreign minister for 15 minutes on the telephone.

“There will be further contacts overnight and tomorrow in the search for a swift resolution of this issue,” the Foreign Office added.

Reaction to verdict

Before the meeting, Mr Miliband said he was “extremely disappointed” the charges had not been dismissed and repeated his view that it had been an “innocent misunderstanding by a dedicated teacher”.

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Staff complaint

The prime minister, Sudanese embassy officials in London and UK Muslim organisations all expressed the hope that Mrs Gibbons would be released.

But Sudan ‘s top clerics had called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.

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“Having said this, 15 days in a Sudanese prison for an innocent misunderstanding is a serious and harsh punishment indeed.”

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