No sooner had Sudanese officials informed the world that Meriam Ibrahim had not been re-arrested and would be freed again after the nation’s courts released her from prison than news reports surfaced today that she would be charged with fraud and prevented from leaving the country.
She’s out on bail but facing new charges of document fraud:
Meriam Ibrahim has been accused of falsifying travel documents as she tried to leave the African country hours after the death penalty was dropped against her.
It is understood that the authorities told her she should have used the Muslim name she had when she was born, not the Christian name she uses after choosing to worship that faith.
Those charges sound eerily familiar to the ones she was originally charged with, apostasy. This comes as State Department officials and Sudanese government officials exchanged testy words in news releases and via the media, from a report:
A diplomatic spat escalated Wednesday as Sudan summoned the U.S. ambassador over Washington’s attempts to assist a mother who had been sentenced to death for refusing to denounce Christianity. Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was freed from death row on Monday but just one day later Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) re-arrested her at Khartoum’s airport. The NISS, a shadowy and feared institution, said on its Facebook page that Ibrahim and her family had been attempting to travel to the U.S. with documents from the embassy of South Sudan, which split from its northern neighbor in 2011 after years of civil war. It said she was carrying a U.S. visa, and that her attempts to use the documents were considered a “criminal offense.”
A friend posted bail for Ibrahim and now human rights gouops are blaming the Obama administration for not doing more to help her leave the country:
Hardwired, a global social justice movement that mobilizes young leaders around the world to end religious oppression, noted in a Facebook post on Tuesday, however, that Meriam was only released Tuesday after a friend posted her bail and that individual will be penalized if she leaves the country before the charges are settled. …
The organization’s founder, Tina Ramirez, also called on Congress to investigate the way in which Meriam Ibrahim’s case was handled by the State Department.
She argues that the painful fiasco could have been avoided if U.S. embassy officials in Sudan had given Meriam’s U.S. citizen husband Daniel Wani the help he requested when he approached them with the case last September.
“The US government should have coordinated with the government of Sudan to get them out of the country. This is sloppy. They have had three years to sort this out and whenever Daniel has gone to the U.S. embassy in Sudan for help they have refused,” said Ramirez.
“I think that Congress should be investigating what happened here. The US says that it cares about human rights issues and this is something they should be caring about. It’s a total failure, it’s shameful,” she added.
With Ibrahaim’s husband and childrens’ status as U.S. citizens, the Obama administration needs to step up its efforts immediately.
About how she was taken into custody again at the airport,
The Daily Mail reports that 40 security agents took the family of four into custody:
The couple were detained by around 40 security agents with their two children, Maya, one month, and Martin, 21 months.
Meriam’s lawyer, Shareif Ali Shareif, told MailOnline: ‘Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani were arrested at the airport two hours ago [about 1230GMT).
‘They are now in the detention of the National Security forces. The family were trying to leave Sudan for a safe place. The children were with them. The children are with Meriam. They were arrested as well.
‘We don’t have any information about what charges they face. But the National Security force does not have to take them to court. This is not a criminal matter, it a national security matter.’
Meriam’s attorney talked with The Guardian newspaper:
“It’s very disappointing,” Elshareef told the Guardian. “They were very angry. They took us [the family’s lawyers] outside, and took the family to a NISS detention centre. They have not been given access to lawyers.”
He said the appeal court had quashed Ibrahim’s convictions and there were no restrictions on her travelling. He added that political differences within the government over the case may have played a part in the decision to prevent her leaving.
“I’m very concerned. When people do not respect the court, they might do anything,” said Elshareef.
Reports yesterday indicated the Sudan court has reversed itself and would free Ibraham, who was forced to give birth in chains in a Sudanese prison as she awaited a death sentence ad brutal flogging by Muslim officials.
“The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya [Ibrahim] and the cancellation of the [previous] court ruling,” Sudan’s SUNA news agency said on Monday. The London Daily Mail, late Monday, posted a picture of her out of prison with her family.
Ibrahim, 26, joined the Catholic Church shortly before she married U.S. citizen Daniel Bicensio Wani in December 2011.
Ibrahim was not sentenced to die for her Christian faith for two years, until such a time as her newborn baby girl Maya is weaned, but she could have been flogged within days if her appeal of her death sentence was thrown out. LifeNews recently covered the terrible nature of the flogging she would have had to endure and how it would have literally take her skin off of her body.