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SUDANESE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT RELEASE CHRISTIAN WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 31, 2014) — The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and Family Research Council (FRC), both of whom have aggressively advocated for the freedom of a Christian woman imprisoned in horrendous conditions in Khartoum, Sudan, have expressed optimism at initial reports that Meriam Ibrahim Wani and her two young children will be freed within a matter of days.
On Saturday afternoon, The Post & Email sent a tweet to FRC’s Tony Perkins with a link to an article at The Times of London which reported that the government of Sudan had stated that the release of the three family members of U.S. citizen Daniel Wani was in process.
We had attempted to reach FRC by phone, but the voice recording stated that our call was received “after hours.”
Perkins appeared on Fox News’s “The Kelly File” on Thursday night urging the Department of Homeland Security to offer Meriam and her children refugee status immediately. FRC launched a petition at whitehouse.gov approximately 72 hours ago which has 30,785 signatures as of press time on Saturday.
A similar petition at whitehouse.gov has 98 signatures as of this writing.
The ACLJ reported that one of Meriam’s attorneys cautioned that the Sudanese government made its announcement “to silence the international media. . . . This is what the government does. We will not believe that she is being freed until she walks out of the prison. . . . If they were to release her, the announcement would come from the appeal court, and not from the ministry of foreign affairs. But at least it shows our campaign to free Meriam is rattling them. We must keep up the pressure.”
It is unclear if Meriam’s death sentence has been “overturned,” postponed by the Sharia law government of Sudan, or neither.
Photos of Meriam published Saturday by the (UK) Daily Mail Online show the young mother significantly thinner than in her widely-circulated wedding photo from December 2011, when she and Daniel were married by a Christian minister in Khartroum. Meriam gave birth on Tuesday to daughter Maya without medical intervention and reportedly while still chained to the floor.
The ACLJ launched a petition on its website which now has over 300,000 signatures and a second at beheardproject. Amnesty International and change.org have also gathered thousands of signatures to save Meriam and her children. A petition sponsored by Christian Today has over 500,000 signatures.
Numerous news reports have stated that since their father is an American citizen, the children are also U.S. citizens.
In a late-breaking update on Saturday night, London’s Channel 4 reported that Meriam’s attorney told them that reports that Meriam will be released are “absurd” and “that the family has not been told there was any chance of her release from jail.”
The attorney said that the declaration of freedom for Meriam and the children was made by a Sudanese government official who “wanted to stop the campaign (for her release).”
The Times of London, whose article was updated just before this article went to press, states that “…an under-secretary at Sudan’s foreign ministry, has told the BBC that the 27-year-old woman will be freed from custody in a few days’ time” and “She definitely will not be executed.”
CNN reports that Sudan’s foreign ministry denies reports that Meriam’s freedom is imminent and that such a ruling would have to come from an appeals court.
The British government has condemned Meriam’s sentence and called for aid to Sudan to be reduced.