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Sudan's President to Meet British Lawmakers Seeking Teacher's Pardon


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir plans to meet with British lawmakers who are trying to secure the release of a British teacher jailed for insulting Islam.

A spokesman for Mr. Bashir told reporters Sunday that the Sudanese president will meet with Sayeeda Warsi and Nazir Ahmed from Britain's House of Lords upper house of parliament on Monday in Khartoum.

The two British lawmakers, both Muslims, have been meeting with Sudanese officials for the past two days in hopes of obtaining a pardon for Gillian Gibbons, 54.

Gibbons is serving a 15-day prison sentence for letting her class of seven-year-olds name a teddy bear Muhammad - the name of Islam's founding prophet.

On Saturday, a British television station, Channel 4 News, said it obtained a statement from Gibbons saying she is being treated well in custody.

Gibbons, who taught at a private Khartoum school, was sentenced on Thursday after a trial that lasted only a few hours. The teacher had asked her class to write an imaginary diary for the teddy bear, as a writing exercise.

Gibbons could have faced a maximum sentence of 40 lashes, six months in jail and a fine.

Thousands of Sudanese marched through the streets of Khartoum Friday, demanding Gibbons be put to death.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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