Sudan woman accused of apostasy freed again

Meriam Ibrahim had been detained at airport as she and her family left for US

Meriam Ibrahim with her son and  newborn baby girl. Photograph: AP Photo/Al Fajer

Meriam Ibrahim with her son and newborn baby girl. Photograph: AP Photo/Al Fajer


Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman released from death row in Sudan, was freed again yesterday after being held on allegations she had forged travel documents, according to a report.

Ms Ibrahim (27) had been detained with her husband and two young children at Khartoum airport on Tuesday as the family tried to leave the country for the US. But she was discharged from a police station after the government came under pressure from foreign diplomats, a lawyer, Eman Abdul-Rahman, told the Associated Press. It was not clear if and when the family would seek to catch another flight.

Ms Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was last month convicted of apostasy and sentenced to hang. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery after a court ruled her marriage to a Christian man was invalid. Under Sudan’s penal code Muslims are forbidden from changing faith, and Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men. Ms Ibrahim insisted she had been brought up as a Christian.

The case prompted outrage, with more than a million people backing Amnesty International’s campaign for her release.

On Monday the appeal court annulled her death sentence and freed her, after which she went into hiding because of death threats. Her husband, Daniel Wani, a US citizen, said he hoped the family could start a new life in the US. But 24 hours later security service agents apprehended the family, including a baby girl born while Ms Ibrahim was in jail.

The US state department said its envoy then met Sudanese officials and told them the family needed to be able “to depart as swiftly as possible from Sudan”. – (Guardian service)