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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 12:39 GMT
Teacher freed: Reaction in quotes
Politicians, family and friends have been reacting to news that Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher imprisoned in Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Muhammad, has been released.

GILLIAN GIBBONS - STATEMENT

I have been in Sudan for only four months but I have enjoyed myself immensely.

I have encountered nothing but kindness and generosity from the Sudanese people. I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone and I am sorry if I caused any distress.

I was extremely happy working in Unity High School and there I had made some wonderful friends.

My class was delighted and were making wonderful progress with their studies. I will miss them terribly and I am very sad to think that they have been distressed by this event.

I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all who have worked so hard whilst I have been in prison. Thank you also for the messages of support.

I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan and work in Unity High School as the teacher of 2X.

JOHN GIBBONS, MRS GIBBONS'S SON

I've just heard from Gordon Brown this morning. Obviously we're very pleased. We've just got to contain our excitement until she's on the plane.

The family won't be 100% happy until she's on the plane. I'd like to thank the government for all they have done, the hard work behind the scenes, especially the two peers who went out there.

Everyone's been really great. Obviously it's a great feeling today, we're very pleased, we have been under a lot of pressure.

It's been a strange old week, very stressful and particularly bad for the family but now she's coming home, fingers crossed. If this week has taught me anything, it is that anything can happen.

UK PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

To imprison Gillian Gibbons was completely unacceptable and there's been outrage around the world and I'm grateful to the two members of the House of Lords.

I'm also grateful to the Foreign Office diplomats, the ambassador, David Miliband and minister Mark Malloch Brown, who've been working night and day to make sure that this release can take place.

It was completely wrong she's been detained for eight days, she's been imprisoned for these four days, but now I hope - and I've talked to her son this morning, John Gibbons - I hope that her family can have some peace of mind that she will be released.

She will be with the embassy in Khartoum, hopefully come home very soon and she'll be reunited with her family.

This ordeal I hope is over and I do thank everybody who's contributed to making it possible for her to get home.

DR KHALID AL-MUBAREK, SUDANESE EMBASSY IN LONDON

Congratulations. I am overjoyed. She is a teacher who went to teach our children English and she has helped a great deal and I am very grateful.

What has happened was a cultural misunderstanding, a minor one, and I hope she, her family and the British people won't be affected by what has happened.

The demonstrations were an argument from the fringe. I hope for the best relationship with Britain in the months ahead.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND

I welcome President al-Bashir's intervention, which has ended this episode. Gillian's welfare has been our priority at every stage. That remains the case.

I am grateful for the strenuous efforts of the British ambassador, her team in Khartoum and officials here in London since Gillian was arrested a week ago.

I want to pay tribute to the work of Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi, whose welcome initiative has been important in securing this outcome.

They, and the Muslim community in the UK, have shared our view that this was always an innocent misunderstanding.

INAYAT BUNGLAWALA, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN

Gillian should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone held in jail. She had done nothing wrong.

It will be wonderful to see her back in the UK. I am sure she will be welcomed by both Muslims and non-Muslims after her quite terrible ordeal at the hands of the Sudanese authorities.

DOVECOT PRIMARY HEAD GILL JONES, FORMER EMPLOYER

On behalf of the staff, governors, parents and children of Dovecot Primary School, I would like to express our relief and delight at the news of Gillian Gibbons's release.

She and her family have been very much in all of our thoughts during these worrying few days.

I hope she will now be allowed some time alone with her family to recuperate from her ordeal. We send her our love and best wishes.

LOUISE ELLMAN, LABOUR MP FOR LIVERPOOL RIVERSIDE

This results from strong efforts on the part of the Foreign Office and Lord Ahmed's delegation. This is excellent news. I have spoken to her family and they too, obviously, are delighted.

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, JOHN SENTAMU

I give thanks that common sense has finally prevailed for Gillian Gibbons, who has been the victim of misunderstanding and muddled thinking.

For all of us the message must be for people to love the stranger in their community better - to treat them with the decency and respect that we would want them to afford to us.

I am hopeful that for ourselves, if we have strangers in our midst, we will do better and treat those different from us with the care, understanding and loving kindness that Gillian displayed to the children she taught.

STEVE SINNOTT, NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS

I am delighted that Gillian Gibbons has been released from prison in Sudan. I would like to thank David Miliband, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi for all the work they have done to secure her release.



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