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Africa
Death demanded for UK teacher
Protesters in Khartoum want Gillian Gibbons executed for naming a teddy Mohammad.
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2007 22:59 GMT

Protesters burned Gibbons' image and called
for her to be harshly punished [AFP]

Hundreds of protesters have marched through the Sudanese capital Khartoum demanding death for a British school teacher convicted of insulting Islam.

  

They waved green Islamic flags, held up ceremonial swords and chanted religious and nationalist slogans as they took to the streets after Friday prayers.

   

The naming of a toy animal after

Police in riot gear stood on guard but did not move against the demonstration.

 

"It is a premeditated action, and this unbeliever thinks that she can fool us?" Yassin Mubarak, one of the demonstrators, said.

 

"What she did requires her life to be taken."

 

Secret location

Gibbons was moved from the women's prison in Oumdurman to a secret location in the wake of the protest, Kamal al-Gizouli, her chief lawyer, said.

 

The demonstrators made their way to Khartoum's presidential palace for a rally while others burned newspapers that contained pictures of the teacher.

 

Gibbons says she did not intend to offend
Islam through her actions [AFP]
But they steered clear of Unity High School, where Gibbons worked. The school was guarded by police in riot gear.

   

Under Sudan's penal code, Gibbons could have been sentenced to 40 lashes, a fine or up to a year in jail.

 

Teachers at the school say that naming the teddy bear Mohammad was not Gibbons's idea.

 

They say no parents objected when she sent them circulars about a reading project that included the bear, introduced to the class in September, as a fictional participant.

 

Gibbons spoke on Friday with her son John in Britain by telephone, he said.

 

"One of the things my mum said today was that I don't want any resentment towards Muslims," he said.

 

Darfur signal 

   

David Miliband, Britain's foreign minister, said he was "extremely disappointed" with the verdict and called in the Sudanese ambassador for an immediate explanation.

 

Al-Gizouli, said that by prosecuting Gibbons, the Sudanese government may have sought to voice its resistance to including Western peacekeepers among the UN-African Union force that is to deploy in Darfur.

 

"You take an event like this teacher incident, enlarge it and make a bomb out of it," he said.

 

He sais the prosecution was to show that "Muslims in Sudan don't want these people [Westerners] to interfere, [they] want African troops."

 

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, had long resisted any UN peacekeepers until he agreed to the joint force earlier this year.

Source:
Agencies
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