Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sudan death row woman Meriam Ibrahim rearrested

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman released from death row in Sudanon Monday, was arrested with her husband and two children at Khartoum airport on Tuesday as the family attempted to leave the country.
Agents from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detained the family just 24 hours after Ibrahim was released on the orders of the appeal court.
Her lawyer, Elshareef Mohammed, who was with Ibrahim at Khartoum airport at the time of the arrest, said more than 40 NISS officers apprehended the family as they attempted to board a plane to the US. Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, is a US citizen.
"It's very disappointing," Elshareef told the Guardian. "They were 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 the appeal court had quashed Ibrahim's convictions and there were no restrictions on her travelling. He added that political differences within the government over the case may have played a part in the decision to prevent her leaving.
"I'm very concerned. When people do not respect the court, they might do anything," said Elshareef.
Ibrahim, 27, had been sentenced to death for apostasy. She insisted that she had been brought up as a Christian, despite her father being Muslim. She was also sentenced to be publicly flogged for adultery following a court's ruling that her marriage to a Christian man was invalid.
After her release, Wani told the Guardian that he hoped the family would be able to start a new life in the US. Ibrahim, Wani and their two children were taken to a safe house following her release from prison on Monday amid fears for the family's safety.
Ibrahim's case attracted international criticism, which intensified after she gave birth to a daughter while shackled to the floor of her prison cell. Her toddler son was kept in Omdurman women's prison with her.
More than 1 million people backed a campaign by Amnesty International to free her. The British prime minister, David Cameron, said he was "absolutely appalled" by her treatment. Political and religious leaders, celebrities and human rights organisations condemned her incarceration. The British Foreign Office and US state department welcomed her release on Monday.
Amnesty said on Tuesday it was investigating reports of the family's detention.
Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy after the court insisted she was a Muslim because her father was a Muslim, even though Ibrahim said she had been brought up as a Christian after her father abandoned the family when she was six. Following her conviction last month, she was given three days to renounce her faith or face a death sentence.
Then eight months pregnant, she was told that her death sentence would be deferred for two years to allow her to nurse her unborn baby.