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Meriam Ibrahim arrested at airport hours after release

23 June 2014

Freed: Meriam Ibrahim with her husband, Daniel Wani

Freed: Meriam Ibrahim with her husband, Daniel Wani

JUST hours after she was released from her death sentence, Meriam Ibrahim has been re-arrested with her family at Khartoum airport.

According to news agency reports, Mrs Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani, and two children, were arrested by up to 40 agents from the Sudanese security service on Tuesday as they tried to leave the country for the United States, where Mr Wani has citizenship.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging last month for allegedly renouncing Islam (News, 16 May). However, she has always insisted that she was raised a Christian, and so could not have abandoned Islam. (The court argued that her absentee father had been Muslim.)

Her case provoked a huge international outcry, and the Sudanese appeal court quashed her sentence and set her free on Monday. But before she could escape Sudan, agents from the National Intelligence and Security Service re-arrested her on Tuesday.

One of Mrs Ibrahim's lawyers, Elshareef Mohamed, told The Guardian  that the family had been taken to a detention centre. "I'm very concerned. When people do not respect the court, they might do anything," he said. He added that the appeal court had not put any restrictions on her travelling abroad.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency yesterday, another member of Mrs Ibrahim's legal team Mohamed Mostafa, said that the family had not intended to return to their Khartoum home because of threats made to their safety.

Mrs Ibrahim, who was heavily pregnant when convicted last month, was forced to give birth in Omdurman's women's prison while in chains (News, 30 May). She also has an 18-month-old son, Martin.

A series of prominent Western figures, including David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Hillary Clinton, had demanded her immediate release (News, 6 June). While apostasy has been illegal since the introduction of sharia law in the 1980s, freedom of religion is enshrined in Sudan's 2005 constitution.

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