A British teacher in Sudan who was convicted of insulting the Islamic religion received a pardon from Sudan's president on Monday and has left the country on a flight back home, according to the British Foreign Office.
Gillian Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in jail in Khartoum for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed after the Islamic prophet as part of an in class assignment. Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir granted her a presidential pardon earlier Monday after holding talks with two British peers.
The two British Muslim peers, Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi were sent from Britian's upper house of parliament to Khartoum to ask for release of the British teacher.
Gibbons, 54, was sentenced to jail last Thursday and she would have remained in jail another six days, had she not received pardon.
In a statement, Gibbons addressed the situation. I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone and I am sorry if I caused any distress, she said.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed his gratitude to the Foreign Office and the two Muslim peers for their efforts to get Gibbons released.
To imprison Gillian Gibbons was completely unacceptable and there's been outrage around the world and I am grateful to the two members of the House of Lords, he said.
Gibbons left on a flight to England after receiving the news and is expected to arrive early Tuesday morning at London's Heathrow Airport. There she is expected to make a statement to the press.
Gibbons could have received 40 lashes or a six-month jail sentence under Sudanese law. After her sentencing last week, hundreds of Sudanese demonstrated for a tougher sentence, with some even demanding her to be executed.