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Sudan Summons US Ambassadors over Christian Woman

US and South Sudan issue 'criminal' travel documents to woman re-arrested after 'apostasy' death sentence lifted.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir
Reuters

Sudan summoned the ambassadors of America and South Sudan on Wednesday, over what it termed the "criminal" issuance of travel documents by the two governments to a Sudanese Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for "apostasy."

Meriam Ibrahim (27) was re-arrested with her husband Daniel Wani and two children at the Khartoum airport on Tuesday, after having been cleared of a death sentence on Monday for marrying a Christian. Ibrahim herself, though the daughter of a Muslim man, was raised by her Christian mother.

"The airport passport police arrested Abrar (Ibrahim's Muslim name) after she presented emergency travel documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy [while] carrying an American visa," Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services' (NISS) media department said on Facebook, according to Reuters.

"The Sudanese authorities considered (the action) a criminal violation, and the Foreign Ministry summoned the American and South Sudanese ambassadors," the statement added.

The US State Department has previously said it was "deeply disturbed" by the death sentence, calling on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.

Ibrahim's lawyer Mohaned Mostafa told Reuters that the woman is expected to stay in police custody for 24 hours.

However, the Daily Mail references the religious freedom group Hardwired saying that NISS, which arrested Ibrahim and her family, does not operate through the courts in national security issues, and can detain people indefinitely. An by Amnesty International report on NISS was called "Agents of Fear."

Ibrahim's husband Wani holds American citizenship, and said Monday that the family planned to leave for the US after Ibrahim was cleared of the death sentence.

The Sudanese Christian woman was convicted of apostasy for marrying Wani 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.