Sudan: Meriam Ibrahim 're-arrested'

24 June 2014

UPDATE 25 June: According to the latest reports, Meriam and her family are still in custody. She is repotedly being held Mrs Ibrahim is being held at a police station in Khartoum, Sudan's capital. According to her lawyer, Elsherif Ali, she has been accused by Sudan's National Security and Intelligence Authority of forging official documents. The emergency travel documents were issued by South Sudan's embassy in Khartoum, which insists that the travel documents are genuine.

Meriam was 're-arrested' at Khartoum airport less than 24 hours after her release from death row.

About 40 security agents detained Ms Ibrahim, along with her husband Daniel Wani and two children, who were intending to leave for the US. Her husband and children are now apparently released and staying at the US embassy.

Tina Ramirez, president of Hardwired Inc., a nonprofit organisation that trains young people to advocate for freedom of conscience and belief, told World Watch Monitor, "The (US) State Dept said that they were held reportedly for not having the proper documentation to leave the country. State and the embassy are working on it to get her on a plane to South Sudan where they will complete the paperwork for the family to travel to the US."

PM tweets for Meriam

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim was sentenced to death in Khartoum on 11 May for 'apostasy' (converting to Christianity), and up to 100 lashes for committing adultery. She refused to renounce her Christian faith. According to reports, the judge told her: "We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death." Meriam calmly replied, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."

At the time, the Prime Minister, David Cameron told The Times,"The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today's world. Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right. I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children. The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act."

Prior to Meriam being 're-arrested', the Prime Minister tweeted, 'As #MeriamIbrahim enjoys her first full day with her family, we should remember how crucial freedom of religion is around the world.'

Chirstian Solidarity Worldwide's chief executive said, "We remain appalled by the threats and hate speech that has been aired seemingly unhindered against her and her lawyers and urge the international community to hold the Sudanese authorities to account for their safety. The right to freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed by international statutes to which Sudan is party. The Sudanese authorities have a duty to ensure the protection of any citizen who seeks to exercise or uphold this right."

Meriam was in prison for over 140 days. During that time she gave birth to a daughter while shackled to the floor of her cell. Her son, Martin, was in prison with her during this time.

Sudan is number 11 on the 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.


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