Sudanese Christian Woman Freed From Death Row Is Re-Arrested

Sudanese Christian Woman Freed From Death Row Is Re-Arrested

By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

JOHANNESBURG — A Christian woman in Sudan freed from death row Monday has been re-arrested a day later after trying to leave the country with her family, according to reports from Khartoum, Sudan.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, sentenced to hang last month for apostasy, was released after her conviction was overturned by Khartoum’s appeals court. But Ibrahim, her husband and two children were detained by security at the Khartoum airport where they sought to board a plane, Reuters reported, citing a security official. The reasons for her re-arrest were not immediately clear.

Ibrahim’s legal team had expressed fears for her safety after her release from prison, concerned that someone might try to harm her.

Ibrahim had been sentenced for adultery after her marriage to Daniel Wani, an American Christian from South Sudan, was declared invalid. She recently gave birth to her second child in Omdurman’s women’s prison after she was jailed in February with her first child, Martin.

Ibrahim was charged after a family member reported her to authorities for having married a non-Muslim. Ibrahim insisted she had been raised a Christian by her Ethiopian Christian mother and had never been a Muslim.

Her father, a Muslim, abandoned the family when Ibrahim was 6 years old and played no role in her upbringing, she said.

The conviction and sentence were condemned by human rights groups including Amnesty International, and by the United States, Britain, and other Western governments, with calls for Sudan to guarantee freedom of religion.

In Sudan, abandoning Islam to convert to Christianity or another faith is an offense punishable by death under the country’s 1991 penal code. The court gave Ibrahim a chance to renounce her Christianity in order to avoid the death sentence, but she refused to do so.

The court ruled that she would be allowed to care for her second baby for two years, then Ibrahim would be hanged.

AFP Photo / Ashraf Shazly

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