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Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Lets be clear. The 15-day sentence by a Sudanese court for teacher Gillian Gibbons is a mockery of justice. But I have again been struck by the attention a story has obtained simply because a Briton is involved.

Are we really such a parochial nation that we care so much more about the plight of one British woman, however unfairly she has been treated, than we do about the people of the country in which she worked? Sudan is a country Im sure Gibbons herself cares deeply about and will be sad to leave if she loses her appeal and is deported at the end of her sentence.

There was uproar when it was thought Gibbons would be flogged and face a longer sentence and relief when this didnt happen. But sadly, if you were poor and Sudanese you probably wouldnt escape these harsher punishments.

And then theres the plight of the people of the Darfur region of Sudan. Over 300,000 people are believed to have lost their lives since the conflict in this region erupted in February 2003. Around three million civilians have fled their homes. Some 650,000 are denied access to aid.

The calls from journalists have come thick and fast since Gillian Gibbons 15-day sentence was announced yesterday evening. All about one British woman. None about the daily mass rape of the women of Darfur by the Janjawid militia - one of the most shocking and serious attacks on women's rights anywhere in the world.

The British Government, while seeking the release of Gillian Gibbons, determinedly attempts to return asylum seekers to Sudan. Darfur is a place of violence and terrifying insecurity but even if people are returned to Khartoum they face a very real risk of persecution by the Sudanese government authorities. Its beyond belief.

Theres more today about several stories weve flagged in the blog this week.

Check out the Independents piece on Richard Dawkins, whose atheist manifesto The God Delusion is at the centre of a growing row over religious tolerance in Turkey. Apparently one reviewer said God should give the author a good smacking.

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin speaks to the Guardian from her place in hiding about her battle for freedom of expression. Last week in Kolkata, where the Bangladeshi author has been living since 2004, Muslim groups who claimed she had insulted Islam demonstrated to demand she leave India. Check out Amnestys vigil for Nasrin here.

Finally, after we yesterday quoted the NMEs interview with Morrissey, Im slightly nervous on reading that singer Morrissey is suing the magazine for (allegedly) misquoting him on immigration. Predictably the Times begins its story by saying heaven knows, hes miserable now. As you can tell from this blog, so am I.


Be seeing you.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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