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by Sharon Rondeau

Will putative Secretary of State John Kerry offer the Wani family more than lip service?

(Jun. 17, 2014) — Putative Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement last Thursday in which he condemned the sentence of a young Christian woman whose husband and father of her two children is an American citizen.

Meriam Ibrahim Wani was arrested last fall and imprisoned in January with her toddler son when she was five months’ pregnant.  In May, after a trial at which the witnesses she called were not allowed to testify, Meriam was convicted of “adultery” for having married a Christian and “apostasy” for refusing to embrace Islam.

Her sentences are 100 lashes for the adultery charge and death by hanging for refusing to recant her Christian faith.

Organizations around the world have shown outrage over Meriam’s impending punishment and her treatment while in prison, sponsoring numerous petitions and gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures.

On Tuesday, May 27, Meriam gave birth to a daughter, Maya, while remaining shackled to the floor because the guard was unable to receive approval for removing the chains after she went into labor.

Meriam’s husband, Daniel Wani, became a U.S. citizen in 2005 and lives in New Hampshire.  He has been in Sudan for the past month or more attempting to secure assistance in freeing his family from prison.  Wani reported that personnel at the embassy have been “unhelpful” and that he was asked to provide a DNA sample to prove that the children are his.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and Family Research Council (FRC) have been deeply involved in petitioning for Meriam and the children’s freedom.  FRC’s Tony Perkins has quoted from a United Nations report which states that a child dies every day in the Omdurman Women’s Prison where the three have been held captive.

Perkins sponsored a petition for the Wanis’ release at whitehouse.gov, which now has 51,467 signatures.  The goal is 100,000 signatures by June 27.

Kerry’s statement did not include the fact that the children are U.S. citizens by virtue of their father’s citizenship at the time of their births.

Barack Obama claims to be a “natural born Citizen” even though his purported father held Kenyan citizenship when he was born.  The U.S. Constitution requires the president and commander-in-chief to be a “natural born Citizen,” which is a higher standard than simply “a Citizen.”

In his statement to the government of Sudan on Meriam’s imprisonment and sentence, Kerry said:

The United States remains deeply concerned about the conviction and continued imprisonment of Ms. Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Sudan’s journey has long been a struggle, and back when I was still a United States Senator, I traveled to the region many times to help find greater understanding and hope for a different kind of future. As Secretary, I remain deeply committed to the country and its people. That is one of the reasons we are all so concerned about the travails of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Ms. Ishag is the mother of two young children. She and the children should be reunited at home with her family rather than held in prison on charges of apostasy. I urge the Sudanese judiciary and government to respect Ms. Ishag’s fundamental right to freedom of religion. I also urge Sudan to repeal its laws that are inconsistent with its 2005 Interim Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Such actions would help to demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.

The British government has engaged in attempting to secure Meriam’s freedom and deliberated offering her political asylum if she is freed.   The Obama regime has offered Meriam neither political asylum nor refugee status as requested by FRC, although the U.S. Senate agreed unanimously on a resolution demanding her freedom. Last month, about two dozen members of the House of Representatives had written a letter to Kerry asking for action on Meriam’s plight.

Last week, Rep. Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would grant permanent legal status in the U.S. to Meriam.  “Her husband, a naturalized U.S. citizen has been repeatedly rebuffed in his efforts to seek help from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. The gross mistreatment of Meriam Ibrahim by the Sudanese government is deplorable and such religious oppression has no place in the modern world,” said Congressman Cotton. “I am disappointed by the Obama administration’s inaction in her case and urge the President to immediately grant Meriam permanent legal resident status in the United States, so that she, her husband, and her children can live free from religious persecution,” Cotton said in a June 10 statement.

Meriam’s team of attorneys has filed an appeal of her sentence with a higher-level court and the African Commission on Human Rights.

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