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Sudan court convicts UK teacher of insulting Islam

[JURIST] A Sudanese court Thursday convicted [AFP report] British school teacher Gillian Gibbons of insulting Islam and sentenced her to 15 days in prison for allowing her students to name the class teddy bear Muhammad. Gibbons will serve 10 more days in prison, after having already served five, and will then be deported. Gibbons had originally been charged with inciting religious hatred [Guardian report] and faced six months in prison, 40 lashes, and a fine. She was instead convicted of the lighter charge under Article 125 of the Sudanese criminal code. Gibbons was arrested [BBC report] early this week after several parents complained about the teddy bear.

British Foreign Minister David Miliband [BBC profile] immediately expressed disappointment [press release] with the conviction, saying the charges against Gibbons should have been dismissed because it was "an innocent misunderstanding by a dedicated teacher." Meanwhile, local protesters [Guardian report] in the Sudanese city of Khartoum demanded the execution of Gibbons. The UK Times has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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