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