UK Muslim lawmakers seek Sudan teacher's release

A British Muslim politician voiced hope on Saturday for the early release of a British teacher jailed in Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammad.

UK Muslim lawmakers seek Sudan teacher's release

Gillian Gibbons, on her seventh day of detention, was quoted as saying she was being well-treated and wished she could continue her work at the school in Sudan.

Lord Ahmed, a member of Britain's upper house of parliament, said that despite hopeful signs for an early release there was heavy pressure on Sudanese authorities from religious groups not to show leniency to Gibbons, convicted of insulting Islam.

Ahmed, from the ruling Labour party, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, an opposition Conservative, met Gibbons, a 54-year-old from Liverpool sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation, and said she seemed in good spirits.

The two lawmakers are in Khartoum as part of an initiative by Muslim parliamentarians in Britain to secure Gibbons' release. "There are lots of positive signs," Ahmed said.

"But the Sudanese government is under extreme pressure from those who demonstrated in the streets and those religious people who delivered strong sermons yesterday where they said they should rescind the 15 days and take her back to court," he told reporters.

"We are optimistic that there will be a positive outcome."

Gibbons was quoted as saying she was fine.

"I've been given so many apples I feel I could set up my own stall," Gibbons said in a statement to her legal team, reported by Britain's Channel 4 News. "The guards are constantly asking if I have everything I need."

Gibbons was arrested last Sunday and charged on Wednesday with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs -- charges punishable by up to 40 lashes, a year in prison or a fine.

She was convicted on Thursday of insulting religion.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Aralık 2007, 12:00