The back and forth in the plight of Meriam Ibrahim and her children has received international attention as she was released from prison, arrested attempting to leave Sudan on bogus forgery charges, and now, as AP and other news outlets are reporting early Thursday morning, has been released again.
Eman Abdul-Rahman, the lawyer for 27-year-old Mariam Ibrahim, told The Associated Press that she was released on Thursday from a police station after foreign diplomats pressed the government to free her. She was detained Tuesday at Khartoum’s airport while trying to leave the country with her family.
Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian. Sudan’s penal code forbids Muslims from converting to other religions, a crime punishable by death. A higher tribunal overturned the ruling and ordered her release.
Why the back and forth? NBC News indicated Meriam’s own brother, upset by her Christian faith, intervened to block her attempt to leave the Islamic country.
Meriam was charged on two criminal counts after trying to leave the African country for the United States, her legal team said Wednesday. CNN has more on what happened:
The family is currently being held in a Khartoum police station and has been refused bail.
Ibrahim’s legal team told CNN that Daniel Wani is being held as an accessory.
The family was stopped at the airport after what Ibrahim’s lawyers described Tuesday as an alleged “irregularity with her documentation.”
Ibrahim has a U.S. visa and was headed to the United States with her family, her legal team said.
The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that Ibrahim and her family had been “temporarily detained at the airport” for questioning over issues relating to their travel and documentation.
“They have not been arrested. The government has assured us of their safety,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said then.
Harf said that the U.S. Embassy “has been and will remain highly involved in working with the family and the government,” saying “we are engaging directly with Sudanese officials to secure their safe and swift departure from Sudan.”
Sudanese authorities said Ibrahim had been detained because of the documents she submitted.
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services said that she had South Sudanese travel documents, despite not being a citizen of South Sudan, and she was heading to the United States, which is not her native country.
“This was considered illegal by the Sudanese authorities, who have summoned both the U.S. and South Sudanese ambassadors,” the agency said in a message posted on its media Facebook page early Wednesday.
Leading pro-life advocates in the United States have grown frustrated that the Obama administration has not done more to help Meriam and her husband and children, who are U.S. citizens.
Jay Sekulow of the pro-life legal group ACLJ told LifeNews: “One thing is clear: Now is the time for a maximum effort by the Obama Administration to secure safe passage to America for Meriam and her American family. Detaining Meriam and her American husband and American kids is intolerable. We must take a stand today. Demand safe passage for Meriam and her family to American soil.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council added: “As long as Meriam and her family are in Sudan their lives are at risk. It’s time for the Obama administration to speak loud and clear to the Sudanese government that they will be held accountable for the well-being of Meriam, her children, and her husband.”