International Law

Teacher Accused in Teddy Bear Naming Appears in Court

Legal proceedings got under way in Sudan today against a British teacher charged with insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear after the prophet Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons looked “dazed and tired” as she waited to appear in court, Times Online reports. A Khartoum judge will decide today whether the case against Gibbons should go forward.

Riot police surrounded the court, the Associated Press reports. Gibbons’ chief defense lawyer, Kamal Djizouri, scuffled with police before he was allowed in the building. Reporters were allowed in the court briefly before the hearing began.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the government “will do everything to avoid” the possible punishment of up to six months in jail and 40 lashes.

“We want to see her freed as soon as possible,” he told reporters. “This is a human story, no malice is involved. Her security and welfare are absolutely at the forefront of our concerns.”

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