Sudanese President to meet Britons over teacher pardon

Sudanese President Omar Al Beshir was expected to meet on Monday with two British peers seeking a pardon for a woman teacher jailed for insulting religion by naming a teddy bear Mohammed.

Sudanese President to meet Britons over teacher pardon

Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Muslims from Britain's upper house of parliament, have shuttled between cabinet ministers and officials for two days trying to secure an amnesty for Gillian Gibbons, jailed for 15 days.

"The president will receive the British delegation tomorrow at 0730 GMT," Mahjoub Fadl Badri, Beshir's press secretary said on Sunday.

He said the meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Khartoum, after the British peers announced they had decided to delay their departure following signs of progress.

"Some progress has been made. As a result of that progress and what we're hoping to achieve, we will not be leaving," said Warsi, having spent the day waiting for a meeting with Beshir.

Sudan's president alone has the power to pardon Gibbons, who was convicted on Thursday over allowing pupils at an exclusive English school in Khartoum, where Islamic Sharia law is enforced, to name a teddy bear Mohammed — the same name as the Muslim prophet but also a very popular boys' name.

Ahmed, who said they had the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown for their mission, said it was a "very critical time" and declined to elaborate on the difficulties encountered so far in order not to jeopardise Gibbons's fate.

Thousands of people demonstrated on Friday after the main Muslim prayers in Khartoum, the conservative capital of the former British colony, against what they considered Gibbons's lenient sentence, with some calling for her death.

Being found guilty of insulting religion and inciting hatred in Sudan is punishable by up to six months in prison, 40 lashes and a fine.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2007, 12:53
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