Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy freed again

A Sudanese woman freed from death row on Monday has been released again after being briefly detained with her family at Khartoum airport.

Meriam Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani
Meriam Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced in May to hang for renouncing Islam, sparking widespread outrage at home and abroad.

About 40 security agents detained Mrs Ibrahim – along with her husband, Daniel Wani and two children – at the airport, the sources said.

But Sudan has told the US that she and her family have now been released.

“They were temporarily detained for several hours over questions related to their documents,” Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the US state department, told journalists.

Sudan’s government had assured the US that Mrs Ibrahim and her family were safe, Ms Harf added.

She said the US is working with Sudan to ensure their safe passage out of the country.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death by a court in Khartoum on May 15 when she refused to recant her Christian beliefs. She said that she was never a Muslim, because her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was six years old and her Christian mother raised her in her own religion. But the court ruled that she had “abandoned” Islam – a crime punishable by death in Sudan.

Whilst in prison she gave birth to her second child – a baby girl named Maya. Both Maya and Martin, almost two, have been with their mother in prison since December.

Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, an American citizen, was only allowed sporadic visits to his wife.

The case caused outrage around the world – especially when it was revealed that Ms Ibrahim had been forced to give birth with her legs shackled.

David Cameron, Tony Blair, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all called for her release, and a petition to secure her freedom gathered over 700,000 signatures.