Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

1 July 2014

Sudan: Christian Woman Hiding After New 'Forgery' Charge

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

Khartoum — The Sudanese mother acquitted of a death sentence for 'apostasy' is now waiting "in a safe place" to see what happens in light of the latest allegation against her, forging travel documents, and still hopes to fly to the United States with her family.

During her detention, she was mostly scared of giving birth to her second child in a prison, on 27 May. "I gave birth chained," Maryam Yahya Ibrahim told CNN in a phone interview today (Tuesday). "Not cuffs, but chains on my legs. I couldn't open my legs." Doctors now fear that the circumstances of the baby's birth may have lasting consequences. "I don't know if she'll need support to walk in the future," said Ibrahim. It is unsure whether her future will take place in Sudan or the US.

She and her husband, American Daniel Wani, were freed from custody on Thursday after having been detained for two days upon arriving at the airport in Khartoum. They were trying to fly with their baby and toddler son to the US. Now Ibrahim is charged with 'presenting forged travel documents and giving false information', Thabit El Zubeir Suleiman, one of her lawyers, said.

The Sudanese was "terrorised" when the police officers took her and Wani, who is in a wheelchair, from the airport, and locked her "in a room for four to five hours".

'New problem every day'

Ibrahim commented on the newest allegation against her: "My paperwork came from the embassy. It's 100% correct and it was approved by the South Sudan ambassador and the American ambassador. It's my right [... ] because my husband has a South Sudanese and an American passport." She has been given a US visa.

"There's a new problem every day about me leaving. Leaving is exactly what I want, not anything more." Ibrahim told CNN that she is not scared despite her experiences so far. The Christian mother braved death by hanging as she refused to renounce her faith. And in prison, she received comments about her being a Christian or "non-believer", "from both prisoners as officers".

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim, was raised by her Christian mother, after the father abandoned the family when she was six years old. By law, children must follow their father's religion. She married Wani, a Christian from South Sudan, in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims.

Ibrahim has been in jail since February, along with her 18-month-old young son, and since 27 May with her baby daughter.

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InFocus

US Sanctuary for Sudan Death Row Woman

Wedding photo of Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani.

Lawyers representing Meriam Ibrahim, a woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity after marrying, and then subsequently freed, say authorities have released the family ... Read more »