Woman sentenced to death for allegedly abandoning the Muslim faith has been detained by security services, just a day after she was released from prison.
The Telegraph Online
There were dramatic scenes at Khartoum airport on Tuesday as Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman released from prison earlier this week following worldwide protests at her death sentence for apostasy, was detained for several hours while trying to leave the country.
The 27-year-old was held along with her American husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children, Martin, almost two, and Maya, two weeks old.
Their lawyer, Elshareef Ali Mohammed, who was with them at the time, said they were given no reason for their detention, but there were reports late Tuesday night that Ms Ibrahim faces charges of falsifying documents and statements after trying to leave the country via South Sudan for America.
Hardwired, the campaign group, was investigating reports that she was being accused of attempting to travel with false paperwork after presenting the documents provided by South Sudan with US assistance.
The group has been told that she was released on bail conditions that would mean that the unnamed person who provided the surety would be charged with the same offences if she left Sudan before the case was resolved.
Sudanese officials told their US counterparts that the family were questioned about their paperwork for several hours but not arrested.
The State Department said that Sudan had assured them of the family’s safety, and that the US was working with the Khartoum government to help them leave the country as soon as possible.
They were initially thought to be planning to fly to South Sudan – the birthplace of Mr Wani and now an independent country – as their paperwork to travel to the US was still being processed.
Ms Ibrahim and her family were taken to the airport in a US vehicle accompanied by American diplomats after South Sudan issued emergency travel paperwork for them. But the security officials at the airport apparently found problems with the documents.
Mr Wani is an American citizen and supporters of the family, backed by the senators from his state of New Hampshire, have urged the US to grant a visa to Ms Ibrahim and citizenship to their two children.
Ms Ibrahim was released from Omdurman women’s prison on Monday afternoon after state media announced that the Supreme Court had annulled the sentence.
She had spent six months in a jail cell, sentenced to execution by hanging for abandoning Islam, despite her protestations that she was raised a Christian by her Ethiopian Orthodox mother after her Muslim father left.
Accompanied by her two children Ms Ibrahim was taken to a safe house in the Khartoum area on Monday afternoon. In Sudan, which imposes Sharia law, apostasy is a crime punishable by death – and earlier this month Ms Ibrahim’s own brother called for her execution unless she “returned” to Islam.
The May 15 sentence also included 100 lashes for adultery related to her marriage to Mr Wani, a Christian. Sudan does not recognise marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Some people saw the charges as the result of a family feud – and an attempt by Ms Ibrahim’s family to gain control of her successful small businesses.
The sentencing caused outrage around the world, and led to an international campaign to secure her freedom.
The first photos released after her release show Ms Ibrahim, dressed in a vivid green traditional Sudanese outfit, cradling Maya on her lap.
Next to her, in his wheelchair, sits Mr Wani – an American-Sudanese citizen, who suffers from muscular dystrophy.
On Tuesday morning Al Sudani, a government-owned newspaper with good security sources, reported that the family was expected to leave Sudan within hours.