Monday, December 03, 2007

Released early

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir pardoned a British teacher convicted of insulting religion, presidential palace sources said. Gillian Gibbons is expected to be freed Monday afternoon, sources told Time magazine's Sam Dealey Monday.

She will then leave Khartoum on a flight later in the day, along with the two British lawmakers who arrived there Saturday to secure her release. Gibbons, 54, was sentenced to 15 days in jail last Thursday for having allowed her students at a private school to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."

Without a pardon, she would have remained in jail another six days.

The pardon came following efforts by Nazir Ahmed and Sayeeda Warsi, Muslim members of the House of Lords, to persuade the Sudanese government that releasing Gibbons would create international goodwill toward their country.

Ahmed, who is a member of the House of Lords --the UK's upper parliamentary chamber, told CNN that Sudan's president was impressed that Gibbons intended no harm.

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