Middle East

Sudan detains woman released from death row

Mariam Ibrahim held at Khartoum airport just hours after appeal court dropped sentence for apostasy, her lawyer says.

Last updated: 24 Jun 2014 19:26
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Ibrahim was sentenced to death last month for converting to Christianity, but was released on Monday [AP]

Sudanese authorities have detained a Sudanese woman just hours after she was freed from death row, according to a security source and her lawyer.

Eman Abdul-Rahim, the lawyer, said 27-year-old Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was held on Tuesday along with two children and her husband at the international airport in Khartoum, the country's capital.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death last month for converting to Christianity from Islam, but was released on Monday, after what the government said was unprecedented international pressure.

The security official said he did know the reason for the re-arrest.

However, the US State Department said later that it had received assurances that Mariam Ibrahim had not, as reported, been re-arrested.

Marie Harf, the department spokesperson, said the US had been informed by Sudan that "the family was temporarily detained at the airport for several hours by the government for questioning about issues related to their travel and, I think, travel documents. They have not been arrested".

Death sentence annulled

Mariam Ibrahim was freed by an appeal court on Monday which annulled her death sentence for apostasy.

She was then sent to a secret location for her protection after her family reported receiving threats.

The sentence had drawn international condemnation, with Amnesty International, the UK-based rights organisation, calling it "abhorrent".

The US State Department had said it was "deeply disturbed'' by the sentence and called on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.

Her release was welcomed by human-rights groups and Western governments that had voiced outrage at the death sentence.

Mariam Ibrahim was earlier also sentenced to 100 lashes for what it deemed her adultery for marrying a Christian.

She gave birth in prison to a daughter, her second child by her American husband Daniel Wani.

A number of Sudanese have been convicted of apostasy in recent years, but they all escaped execution by recanting their new faith.


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