Yesterday Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir pardoned Gillian Gibbons, the British schoolteacher who last week was found guilty of insulting Islam by letting her 7-year-old students name a class teddy bear Muhammad. Sentenced to 15 days in jail, light punishment compared to the six months and 40 lashes she could have gotten, Gibbons was freed halfway to her release date and promptly returned to the U.K. (Apparently she got credit for time served awaiting trial.) Gibbons' defense attorney explains:
This was all political. The government did this to show they are tolerant. They don't need any more problems with the world and the international media.
The sad thing is that Bashir does look pretty tolerant compared to his constituents. "On Friday," The New York Times reports, "hundreds of Sudanese in Khartoum, the capital, protested what they considered a lenient punishment and called for her to be put to death."