Sudan Teddy Teacher freed...
Having been of the opinion that the Muhammad teddy flap was essentially a political spat between the Sudanese and British governments in which Islam played only a minor part as a kind of Tonkin incident I believe the evidence is now there for all to see: Gillian Gibbons is about to be flown home in the next few hours and has already been handed over to the British Embassy. Of course, all this elegant analysing takes nothing away from the fact that legally convicting a teacher for naming a soft toy after a prophet, upon the somewhat endearing request of the children in her class, is the height of absurdity. But all's well that ends well...
From The Guardian the PM on this case:
"I was delighted and relieved to hear the news that Gillian Gibbons is to be freed," Brown said in a statement. "She will be released into the care of our embassy in Khartoum after what must have been a difficult ordeal."
He added: "Through the course of Ms Gibbons's detention I was glad to see Muslim groups across the UK express strong support for her case.
"I applaud the particular efforts of Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi in securing her freedom. I am also grateful to our officials for all their work behind the scenes."
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, praised Gibbons's fortitude and described the successful campaign to free her as a "team effort".
Miliband, who spoke to the 54-year-old mother-of-two this afternoon, told reporters: "She has shown very good British grit in very difficult circumstances but I know that the most important thing for her is to get home as soon as possible and return to her family."
In a statement, Gibbons said she was "fine" and thanked those who had worked to win her release.
The teddy should be available on eBay shortly with the proceeds going to charity, I would hope...