SUDAN was facing international sanctions last night after hacking off the little paws of a three year-old teddy bear.
The cuddly toy was found guilty of blasphemy after taking the name of the prophet Muhammad, in defiance of the country's strict Islamic teddy-bear naming laws.
A spokesman for the Sudanese ministry of justice defended the sentence, adding: "This is an act of mercy.
"Our laws demand that blashpeming toys be stripped to their underwear and stoned to death before their bodies are thrown into the desert as an afternoon snack for the vultures.
"By removing only the paws of this infidel we are demonstrating great restraint. This is a gesture of goodwill to you Western devils and your pornographic governments."
He added: "How would you react if your child named a teddy bear after Jesus, John the Baptist or even Tom Hanks?
"Would you not decapitate the toy, thrash the child and throw the teacher off a cliff to be devoured by ravenous killer whales?"
The United Nations and Amnesty International have called for the release of more than 2500 cuddly toys imprisoned without trial since early September.
A UN spokesman added: "Of course, some may argue there is no point in us keeping all these Sudanese children alive if they can't even think of a legal name for a teddy bear."
The bear was named following a classroom vote, with 'Muhammad' chosen ahead of 'Paddington', 'Baloo' and 'Al-Hassan, the Terrible Golden Sword of Righteousness'.