Report: Meriam Wani in Sudanese Detention

BUT “IS FREE TO LEAVE”

by Sharon Rondeau

Meriam Ibrahim Wani in the Omdurman Women’s Prison in Khartoum, Sudan, with son Daniel and infant daughter Maya, prior to their release on Monday from international pressure

(Jun. 25, 2014) — The UK Telegraph reported on Wednesday that Meriam Ibrahim Wani, the Sudanese Christian condemned to death for her faith and released due to international pressure on Monday, remains in detention after attempting to board a flight out of the country with her family.

In January, Meriam was imprisoned along with her then-15-month-old son Martin on charges of adultery and apostasy, for which she was convicted in May.  The Sharia court handed down the sentence of 100 lashes for her marriage to a Christian and a death sentence by hanging for refusing to renounce her faith and “return” to Islam.

Meriam’s brother had reported that she had renounced Islam because their father was a Muslim.  Meriam told the court during her trial that she was raised as a Christian by her mother after her father abandoned the family when she was six.

In Sudan, it is a crime for anyone to renounce the religion of his or her father if that religion was Islam.

Sudan’s government considers anyone with a Muslim father who renounces that faith to be an apostate.

Meriam, who is a trained physician, gave birth to a daughter on May 27 in chains and without medical intervention.

On Monday, Meriam’s attorney reported that she and the children were freed and had gone to a safehouse for the immediate future.

On Tuesday evening, various reports said that Meriam had been detained “temporarily” and released, while others said that she remained in custody of security elements at the airport.  It was presumed that the Wanis were traveling to the United States.

Meriam married Daniel Wani in late 2011 in a Christian ceremony in Khartoum.  Wani became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005, and the U.S. embassy in Khartoum is reportedly involved in assisting the family to leave the country, where Meriam’s life is in danger.

Sudanese security forces say that Meriam was attempting to use fraudulent papers to exit the country.

Fox News reported Wednesday that Meriam is now in jail for having “presented emergency travel documents issued by the South Sudanese Embassy and carrying an American visa.”

A statement on the website of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC reads:

Mariam is free to leave Sudan , she just have to do it legally…some elements attempted to bring Mariam to U.S by issuing her an entry visa on a fraudulent travelling document

The Telegraph reports that one of Meriam’s attorneys explained that “They have accused her of providing incorrect information, and of obtaining a fake travel document. This document has been officially issued from the embassies of South Sudan and the US. South Sudan’s embassy has confirmed this – but they are reluctant to release her.”

South Sudan seceded and became its own country in 2011, inflaming an already volatile situation with Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.  South Sudan has a majority Christian population, while Sudan is primarily Muslim, with increasing reports of Christian persecution.

The “airport passport police” reportedly are holding the Wanis until a resolution can be reached.

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