Report: Meriam Wani and Family Released from Sudanese Custody, Flying to U.S.

ARE THEY SAFE?

by Sharon Rondeau

Khartoum International Airport

(Jun. 26, 2014) — World Magazine is reporting that Meriam Wani, the young Christian mother who was imprisoned for six months in Khartoum, Sudan for marrying a Christian and refusing to recant her faith, has been released for a second time from Sudanese custody to fly to the United States.

On Monday, the ACLJ and other religious-freedom organizations rejoiced after official word came from one of Meriam’s attorneys that she and her two young children had been freed from prison, only to hear Tuesday that her family had been apprehended at the Khartoum airport by “airport passport police.”

On Wednesday, the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC said that Meriam was “free to leave” Sudan if she were to “do it legally.”  Officials from the U.S. embassy in Khartoum were reportedly summoned over the charge of “forged travel documents.”

Meriam was reportedly issued a visa to enter the U.S. with her husband Daniel, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and their two children, who are reported to be American citizens by virtue of their father’s citizenship when they were born.  Daniel became a citizen in 2005, having traveled to the United States with his brother in 1998 to escape upheaval and religious persecution in Sudan.

After news of Meriam’s imprisonment was reported internationally, various agencies and hundreds of thousands of supporters signed petitions, wrote letters to the Sudanese authorities, and contacted the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC urging the Sharia-law Sudanese court to overturn her sentence of 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian and refusing to renounce her faith.

Meriam’s brother reported her “missing” to authorities last fall, then said that she had been given “potions” by Daniel which caused her to reject Islam, which was reportedly Meriam’s father’s religion.  Her brother said that Meriam deserved to die for her apostasy.

While Sudan’s constitution mandates freedom of religion, the courts condemn those who reject Islam. While some reports indicate that Meriam “renounced” Islam, she told the court during her trial that her father had abandoned her family when she was six and that her mother had raised her as a Christian from a young age.

On June 12, putative Secretary of State John Kerry appealed to the government of Sudan to release Meriam, although he did not acknowledge that her children, 21-month-old Martin, and Maya, who was born inside the prison on May 27 while her mother was chained to the floor, are U.S. citizens.

The Daily Mail reported that the Wani family is flying to Washington, DC.  Daniel Wani has made his home in Manchester, NH for the last 16 years.

 

 

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