MERIAM IBRAHIM RELEASED, OTHER CHARGES PENDING
Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian and mother of two, was released from prison on 23 June after her sentence to flogging and death was reversed by an appeals court. She is now with her family in the United States Embassy in Khartoum but is unable to leave Sudan due to further charges against her.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’, and to flogging for ‘adultery’ on 15 May. Her case originated in August 2013 when she was charged with adultery, allegedly after relatives reported her to authorities for her marriage to a Christian man. Under Shari’a law as practised in Sudan, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, and any such marriage is considered adultery.
Meriam was detained in February after the court added the charge of apostasy when Meriam informed the court that she had been raised by her mother as an Orthodox Christian. On 11 May the court gave her three days to renounce her Christian faith or she would be sentenced to death, an option that Meriam rejected.
At the time of her trial Meriam was eight months pregnant. On 27 May she gave birth to her second child in the clinic of Omdurman Women’s Prison where she was detained. Her 20-month-old son was detained with her.
Meriam’s case attracted widespread international attention with over one million people responding to Amnesty International’s appeal for her release. On 23 June she was released from prison after her sentence was overturned by an appeals court. The following day Meriam had intended to fly to the United States along with her two children and husband, who holds dual South Sudanese and American nationality. She was detained at Khartoum Airport by a group of 40 agents from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and taken into custody for questioning in relation to her travel documents. Her family accompanied her. On 25 June Meriam was charged with forgery and providing false information for attempting to travel with South Sudanese travel documents. Although the Embassy of South Sudan in Khartoum has asserted that the travel documents are genuine, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sudan’s SUNA news agency that Meriam should have used a Sudanese passport.
Meriam has been released on bail and is currently with her family at the United States Embassy in Khartoum. She is unable to leave Sudan until Sudanese authorities close this new case.
No further action is requested by the UA Network at this point. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim’s case. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.