05 December 2007

Gibbons back in England after 8 days in prison

The British teacher at the centre of the teddy bear naming row in Sudan is now safely back in England. After successful negotiations carried out with the Sudanese government on her behalf by Lord Ahmed and Lady Warsi, Muslim members of the British House of Lords, Gillian Gibbons was pardoned by President Omar al-Bashir. She promptly flew back home, accompanied by the two peers.

Upon her return, Gibbons, 54, said, "I'm just an ordinary middle-aged teacher in search of adventure and I got a bit more of an adventure than I bargained for." She also encouraged someone to take up her position at the Unity Primary School in Khartoum, while she herself plans to start looking for a new job soon.

Muhammad Abdul Bari, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that the 15-day sentence received by Gibbons had been "a gross overreaction".

Meanwhile, Khalid al-Mubarak, a spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy in London, "It is an unusual case, which came about as a misunderstanding which was not managed well in the early stages" (Los Angeles Times).

Thank God common sense has prevailed. My congratulations to Mrs Gibbons, her family, and the two peers.

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