Needless to say, this one won’t be over until Meriam Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani, and their two children land in the US, so don’t take this as a final disposition by any means. According to the Daily Mail, the government in Sudan buckled under international pressure again and released the family this morning from fraud charges, allowing them to travel to South Sudan:
The Christian mother who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to become a Muslim was finally freed today from her latest detention – and could now come to the US.
Associated Press reported Meriam Ibrahim was freed after 48 hours in jail for problems with her paperwork that stopped her from leaving the African country.
She is now set to fly to South Sudan and from there on to America where she could start her new life.
Campaigners however have urged caution and said that they will wait until Meriam actually gets out of Sudan before celebrating.
No kidding. At the moment, she’s still in Khartoum:
Lawyers for Meriam Ibrahim, 27, said she was released from a police station in Khartoum upon pressure on the government from foreign diplomats.
Antonella Napoli, the chairwoman of Ngo Italians for Darfur, told IBTimes UK that, according to local sources, Ibrahim was taken to a Khartoum safe house by local authorities upon release to keep her safe until formal procedures to allow her to leave the country were completed.
What happened when she first left? NBC reports that Meriam’s brother pushed Sudanese police to take her back into custody:
Authorities said she had been stopped because her travel documents were illegitimate. But in an interview with a Sudanese newspaper, her brother claimed he tipped off police that she had been “kidnapped” by her husband who planned to take her to the U.S. against her will.
The brother, Al Samani Al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah, said that her blood relatives should have been told she was about to be released from death row – rather than her Christian husband. “They did not let us know that she was about to be freed,” he told Sudan’s Al Intibaha newspaper according to a translation by the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph. “It was a surprise for us.”
Ibrahim’s initial charge for apostasy in August last year came after a family member told authorities she had converted from Islam to Christianity, which is punishable by death in Sudan. Her brother’s comments, published Wednesday, chime with earlier suggestions that the charges may have been part of a family feud stoked by differences of religion and attempts to seize her assets.
That may not be the last attempt by her brother to keep her in Sudan, especially if this involves “assets,” which are unspecified in the report. Hopefully be now, this has become so embarrassing for the Sudanese government that they’re going to expedite her exit just to get this behind them, but that should have been the case on Monday — and the government sent 40 or more agents to arrest a young Christian mother traveling with two babies.
This gives an indication of the hostility that practicing Christians experience in that region of the world, but not the extremes of the hostility and fear. Meriam Ibrahim may be fortunate enough to avoid those, assuming that Sudan finally allows her to leave. We’ll see.