Fox News has reported that Miriam Ibrahim, the 27-year-old Christian woman released from prison in Sudan after a court dropped her death sentence for refusing to convert to Islam, has been re-arrested as she and her husband attempted to leave the country with their two children.
As reported June 23 by The New American, a Sudanese court had dropped the death sentence against Ibrahim and had released her from prison. She had been convicted April 30 by an Islamic court of apostasy for refusing to embrace Islam, as well as of adultery for her marriage to her Christian husband, Daniel Wani, who is a U.S. citizen. Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter while in prison, and was confined to a cell, along with the couple's two-year-old son, as she awaited her execution, which had been postponed indefinitely following the birth.
Ibrahim's release had appeared to signal a change of heart by the hard-line Islamic government in Sudan, but barely 24 hours after her release, Ibrahim and her husband were arrested as they attempted to exit the country. According to SkyNews.com the couple was taken to a facility used by the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service. There was no indication as to whether they had been separated from their children.
One of Ibrahim's attorneys, Mohaned Mustafa El-Nour, told news sources that Ibrahim and her husband were taken into custody as they were preparing to board a flight with their children at an airport in Khartoum. According to one news source, as many as 40 Sudanese security agents descended on the family and took them back into custody.
Another of Ibrahim's lawyers, Elshareef Mohammed, who was with the family at the airport, said that Ibrahim and her husband were very disappointed, adding that the agents involved in the arrest acted “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 that while an appeals court had overturned Ibrahim's convictions and there were no restrictions on her traveling, conflicts over the case between government factions may have prompted the change of heart and re-arrest. “I'm very concerned,” Elshareef told the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper. “When people do not respect the court, they might do anything.”
The American Center for Law and Justice updated its coverage of the case, saying in a statement that it was urging the Obama administration “to take immediate diplomatic action as Meriam and her American family are now unjustly in Sudanese custody.”
The New American will monitor the latest developments in the case.