A Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy is to be released from prison, a foreign ministry official has said.

Abdullah al-Azraq told the AFP news agency on Saturday that Mariam Ibrahim would be "freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice".

Azraq, a foreign ministry undersecretary, did not elaborate.

However speaking to Al Jazeera, Mariam Ibrahim's lawyer Mohannad Mustapha said that the final decision still rested with the appeal court.

Mustapha said that Saturday's statement was an attempt to take the heat out of the international coverage of her plight, rather than a genuine reflection of what might happen.

The 27-year-old gave birth to a girl on Tuesday in a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman.

Her husband Daniel Wani, a US citizen, visited Ibrahim and the baby on Thursday, after being denied access earlier in the week. He told AFP both were in "good health".

The court previously said Ibrahim would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence was carried out.

Ibrahim's father was Muslim but she was raised by her Christian mother. She was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian and sentenced to hang, under the Islamic law that has been in place since 1983 and outlaws conversions under pain of death.

'Outrageous'

UN experts have called the conviction "outrageous" and said it must be overturned.

An appeal was filed against the verdict but Mustapha said a hearing that was to have been held on Wednesday was postponed because the case file was incomplete.

Earlier on Saturday the British prime minister, David Cameron, and the former prime minister Tony Blair, urged Sudan's government to lift the death sentence.

Cameron said the treatment Ibrahim was "barbaric and has no place in today's world."

Blair described the case as a "brutal and sickening distortion of faith".

Cameron told the Times newspaper that the UK government was pressing Sudan to annul the sentence.


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies