Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim, a young Sudanese woman who had been living under a death sentence, was released from jail earlier this week, but has been detained again.

Meriam Ibrahim was released earlier this week from her Sudanese prison along with her children. Her previous death sentence for apostasy was cancelled by the Court of Cassation.

Many people the world over were relieved that Meriam Ibrahim had her death sentence overturned, and it has been hailed as the success of freedom of speech and belief. Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions across the world, demanding her release. Notably among the petition signatories were politicians David Cameron, Tony Blair, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. It is believed that Sudan tumbled under the pressure that they were put under by these petitions, as well as national and international concern.

However, just a day after her release, the Sudanese woman was detained in an airport while she and her family were attempting to leave the country. The official word from the government of Sudan is that she and her family have not been arrested and their safety is assured. However, they have been held for questioning regarding their travels and documentation.

Meriam Ibrahim was born into a mixed religion family: her father was a Muslim, and her mother a Christian. In Sudan the country has lived under a strict Muslim government since the 1980s, and it is illegal both to attempt to convert a Muslim person to another religion, and for a Muslim person to leave the faith. Meriam Ibrahim was arrested back in February of this year under the charge of apostasy, due to her Christian faith, and also for adultery, because the Sudanese government did not recognise her marriage to Daniel Wabi, a Sudanese man, because he is a Christian.

There was shock and outrage at Meriam Ibrahim’s arrest, especially as in her eyes she had done no wrong. Her father had left the family when she was small, and so she had been raised as a Christian. Another shocking factor was that Meriam Ibrahim was almost due to give birth when she was shackled and taken to prison. Meriam Ibrahim was given the chance to deny her faith and be released, but she refused to do so, and so was sentenced to death. This release is being marked as a triumph for political change in Sudan.

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