Sudan Foreign Ministry Announces Intention to Release Meriam Yahia Ibrahim from Death Row for Two Years Before Carrying Out Sentencing
05/31/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that, according to a Sudanese official, the government of Sudan intends to release Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a mother of two and wife to an American citizen. Ibrahim is to be released from death row in the coming days for a period of two years to nurse her newborn daughter, Maya, before Sudan carries out her death sentence.
Under-secretary Abdullahi Alzareg of Sudan’s foreign ministry told the BBC Saturday that Sudan “guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman.”
According to both the BBC and The Washington Times, Sudan intends to release Ibrahim for a period of two years prior to carrying out her death sentence. No mention has been made as to whether Ibrahim’s sentencing to 100 lashes for committing adultery in the eyes of Sudan’s Public Order Criminal Code, will also be stayed until after the two-year period.
Likewise, the terms of Sudan’s alleged intention to release Ibrahim from her cell at the Omdurman Federal Women’s prison remain unclear as of the issuance of this release. No mention was made of the Sudanese government’s intention to place Ibrahim under house arrest or to restrict her ability to travel freely.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman for the United Kingdom (U.K.) told The Guardian Saturday, “We are aware of and urgently seeking clarification from the Sudanese authorities of reports that Meriam Ibrahim, the mother facing the death penalty in Sudan, is to be freed.”
According to The Telegraph, “A foreign ministry spokesman said that Meriam Ibrahim would be released and not face further charges.” As Ibrahim will remain sentenced to death regardless of her being or not being released, it remains unclear as to what “further charges” the spokesman may or may not have been alluding to.
Ibrahim was arrested and detained by Sudan’s Public Order Police on February 17. She was subsequently charged with adultery and apostasy on March 4 and was convicted of both charges on May 11 by the El Haj Yousif Public Order Court in Khartoum. Upon being convicted, Ibrahim was allotted three to days to publicly recant her Christian faith or face sentencing. On May 15, Ibrahim refused to recant her faith and was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by Judge Abbas al-Khaleefa after stating before that same court, “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian.”
As of the issuance of this release, Ibrahim, her 20-month old son, Martin and Maya, her daughter born in the prison’s hospital wing at 3:30am May 27, remain imprisoned. Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, a South Sudanese Christian, United States (U.S.) citizen and resident of New Hampshire, told the BBC that Martin’s “attitude has changed a lot.” He elaborated, saying, “He [Martin] used to be a happy boy. When I went there, he just looked at me. No smile.”
ICC’s regional Manager for Africa, Cameron Thomas, said, “We are incredibly relieved to hear that an official of the government of Sudan has come stated the administration’s intention to release Meriam in the coming days. We will continue, however, to apply pressure to the Sudanese government to acquit Meriam of all charges, the only available action in line with its claim to guarantee religious freedom. We remained concerned for Meriam’s, baby Maya’s, and Martin’s health and look to the international community for leadership in ensuring the Ibrahim’s, if released, are provided proper medical care and any and all assistance to ensure their safe return to their husband and father. Today is Meriam’s 104th day in prison, we pray that tomorrow the count will end.”
For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-Africa@persecution.org
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.
Interested in raising your voice #ForMeriam? Sign ICC’s petition!