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One Day Later, Sudan Re-arrests Death Row Christian Woman

Day after having death sentence for 'apostasy' dropped, woman re-arrested with family while trying to leave Sudan.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/24/2014, 5:37 PM

Sudanese flag (illustration)
Sudanese flag (illustration)
Thinkstock

A Sudanese woman who on Monday was acquitted of a death sentence against her for being Christian was re-arrested hours later on Tuesday as she tried to leave the country.

The woman, 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim, was arrested at the Khartoum airport on Tuesday by 50 security personnel, her lawyer Elshareef Ali Mohammed told NBC News.

Mohammed was at the airport during the arrest, and reports that security forces did not give a reason for the arrest even when he identified himself as Ibrahim's lawyer. She was taken to a detention center with her two children and husband Daniel Wani, who insisted on accompanying her.

"They knew she had been cleared by the court but they have re-arrested her - I don't know why," said Mohammed.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying Wani, a Christian, in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith.

The Sudanese woman was sentenced to death for her "crime," a sentence which was cancelled on Monday by a Khartoum court.

Wani, who holds American citizenship, said Monday that the family planned to leave Sudan for the US, reported BBC.

International condemnation over the death sentence is seen as having led to the cancellation.

Amnesty International called the sentence "abhorrent," and the US Sate Department said it was "deeply disturbed" by the sentence, calling on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.

Sudan introduced Islamic Sharia law in the early 1980s under the rule of autocrat Jaafar Nimeiri, a move that contributed to the resumption of an insurgency in the mostly animist and Christian south of Sudan. The south seceded in 2011 to become the world's newest nation, South Sudan.