6 months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine if convicted...

...has the world gone mad?

Published 11.28.07 on the BBC News website:

Gillian Gibbons
Colleagues of Gillian Gibbons said she made an "innocent mistake"
A British teacher has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.

The Foreign Office has confirmed that charges have been laid against Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool.

She was arrested in Khartoum after allowing her class of primary school pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said he will summon the Sudanese ambassador "as a matter of urgency".

In a statement, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "surprised and disappointed" at the charges.

A spokesman said the first step was to "understand the rationale behind the charge", something which would be discussed by Mr Miliband and the ambassador as soon as possible.

"We will consider our response in the light of that," he added.

Lawyers say Mrs Gibbons faces six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine if convicted.

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