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Meriam Ibrahim and Family Remain in Khartoum for Police Questioning After Security and Law Enforcement Personnel Blocked Their Departure from Sudan Yesterday

06/25/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Meriam Yahi Ibrahim is has been detained for a 24-hour interrogation period at a police station in Khartoum to sort through “irregularities” in documentation she and her husband presented while attempting to flee the country yesterday morning. Meriam, her husband Daniel and their two children, Martin and Maya, were “briefly” detained at the Khartoum airport yesterday by more than 40 members of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

Following their brief detention yesterday at Khartoum airport, Meriam has been released into the custody of local law enforcement for 24 hours of questioning regarding documentation provided by the South Sudanese and United States (U.S.) embassies in Khartoum. According to The Telegraph, Meriam was carrying both a U.S. visa and South Sudanese travel papers, reportedly issued to her personally on Tuesday by South Sudan’s Charge d’Affaires, Kau Nak.

Nak, in speaking with AFP, said, “I’m the one who issued that travel document to [Ibrahim]. My signature is on the back of the document.” Nak also stated that his embassy has not been contacted by law enforcement personnel nor officials of the Sudanese government with regard to the authenticity of the papers issued to Ibrahim.

NBC has reported that a U.S. Ambassador in Khartoum has been summoned by Sudanese officials “over Washington’s attempts to assist a mother who had been sentenced to death for refusing to denounce Christianity.” In speaking to the BBC, Sudanese foreign ministry official, Abdullahi Alzareg, claims Meriam “came to the airport in an American embassy car—which was bullet proof and heavily guarded.” Alzareg went on to characterize the transport as “fishy.”

In speaking with a member of the Ibrahims’ legal defense this morning, ICC has been told that Daniel, Martin and Maya are now at the police station where Meriam continues to be held for questioning. In speaking with ICC, the Ibrahims’ legal defense believes Meriam will be released by 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT).

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Cameron Thomas, said, “We remain concerned for the well-being of Meriam and her family as Sudan continues to impede their departure from the country. While it’s positive that both the U.S. and South Sudanese r=embassies are actively assisting the Ibrahims, more must be done by the international community to ensure their swift and safe removal from Sudan. President al-Bashir’s regime and security apparatus have indicated what could be their intention to hold Meriam and her family in Sudan indefinitely, adding to the growing list of human rights violations the state has voluntarily perpetrated against Meriam and her family.”

For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa:
RM-Africa@persecution.org

In disseminating this release, we request that you reference International Christian Concern and www.persecution.org. ICC is a human rights and faith-based organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. We provide assistance to those in need, lend a voice to the voiceless, and write the stories of the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information, please contact us at by phone at 800-422-5441, or by email at icc@persecution.org.