25 June 2014

Sudan: Christian Woman Rearrested While Attempting to Leave Country - Reports

Photo: Gabriel Wani/Facebook
Wedding photo of Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani.

Khartoum — A Sudanese Christian woman who was released from death row on Monday was rearrested on Tuesday at Khartoum airport while attempting to leave the country, according to international media reports.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was last month sentenced to death by hanging for refusing to renounce her religion and return to Islam, but a court of appeal subsequently overturned the ruling.

A BBC report said Ibrahim, as well as her husband, Daniel Wani, and two children were detained by a group of security agents.

The reason for their detention remains unclear.

It's understood the family, who are being held at an undisclosed location, were planning to travel to the United States.

Ibrahim's conviction on charges of apostasy and adultery sparked international condemnation, with an Amnesty International petition calling for her release attracting more than a million signatures.

The 27-year-old, who was arrested last December, was initially held on adultery charges despite being married after a relative reported her to authorities.

Under Sudan's Islamic Shari'a law Ibrahim's marriage to a Christian man is considered invalid and therefore adulterous. The charge of apostasy - the act of renouncing one's religion - was later added after she asserted that she was not a Muslim.

Ibrahim, who has been incarcerated with her 20-month-old son, Martin, since her arrest, recently gave birth to a baby daughter while in prison.

Ibrahim's husband is a South Sudanese-born US citizen and as such her children would automatically be entitled to citizenship.

Meanwhile, a man identifying himself as Ibrahim's brother said the case had tarnished the family's honour and called for retribution against Christians.

Ibrahim maintains that she was raised according to her Ethiopian mother's Christian faith as her father - a Sudanese Muslim - was largely absent from her childhood.

Following her conviction for apostasy, the court gave Ibrahim three days to renounce her faith, but she refused and the death sentence was upheld. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes on the adultery charge.

The ruling drew condemnation word-wide, with foreign governments and top diplomats appealing for clemency.

US secretary of state John Kerry urged Sudan to repeal its laws criminalising conversion from Islam, while the UK's minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, described the sentencing as "barbaric".

There were also calls by US senators for Kerry to personally intervene in the case and offer Ibrahim asylum.

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