World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


British Teacher Gillian Gibbons Released In Sudan

By Tendai Maphosa

British Teacher Released in Sudan

A British schoolteacher sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed has been released hours after receiving a pardon from Sudan's president. Gillian Gibbons is expected to fly out of Khartoum for home Monday.

Gibbons angered Sudan's Muslim authorities when her pupils named a teddy bear Mohammed. Under Islamic Sharia law, the authorities said, this was an insult to the Islamic prophet.

A complaint by a fellow staff member at the school where she taught led to her arrest. Sudan's top clerics described her actions as part of a Western plot against Islam and called for the maximum sentence under Sharia law. Gibbons could have received 40 lashes or a six-month jail sentence.

After her sentencing last week, hundreds of Sudanese demonstrated for a stiffer sentence, with some calling for her to be beheaded.

Gibbons' arrest resulted in a tense standoff between Sudan and Britain. It was also widely condemned by British Muslims. Her release follows the intervention of two Muslim peers, Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi who traveled to Khartoum to negotiate with the Sudanese authorities.

The breakthrough came Monday morning after the two met with President Omar al-Bashir. After securing Gibbons' pardon, Lord Ahmed addressed the media.

"As British parliamentarians, we Baroness Warsi and myself, we feel proud that we have been able to secure Gillian Gibbons' release," he said. "Modern Britain is multicultural, multi-religious. We have two million Muslims. We have 1,400 mosques and we have ten Muslim parliamentarians. All religions are respected."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed his gratitude to the Foreign Office and the two Muslim peers for their efforts to get Gibbons released.

"To imprison Gillian Gibbons was completely unacceptable and there's been outrage around the world and I am grateful to the two members of the House of Lords," he said.

In a statement read on her behalf by Baroness Warsi, Gibbons expressed her respect for Islam. She said she would not knowingly offend anyone and apologized for any distress she might have caused. She is expected back in Britain late on Monday after her release and deportation from Sudan.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Save The Children: World Leaders Urged To Halt Escalating Hunger Crisis

A group of 120 non-governmental organisations has joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows the number of people likely to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022 could rise by 17%...More>>

WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>

World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>

  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC