The following stems from a conversation between ICC”s Regional Manager for Africa, Cameron Thomas, and Julia Seymour of World Magazine regarding the recent decision by the Sudanese government to ban the lawyers that defended Meriam Ibrahim, who was given the death penalty for her Christian faith.
09/30/2014 Sudan (World Magazine) – Meriam Ibrahim may be safely living in the United States, but several attorneys who fought for her freedom in Sudan now face new repercussions for their work on her case.
According to Morning Star News (MSN), Sudan banned five lawyers involved with Ibrahim’s case from leaving the country after another attorney, Iman Hassan, complained they had “tarnished the image of Sudan by allowing human rights organizations to put pressure on the government.” The lawyers are not Christians but work against injustice and for the freedom of the country’s religious minorities.
Hassan also argued the lawyers’ licenses should be revoked.
“We have been told to give explanation to the accusations filed against us without being given enough time,” one of the defense attorneys told MSN. “We have no intention to leave the country, but it seems time has come for ‘payback’ for our work on Meriam’s case.”
Cameron Thomas, International Christian Concern’s regional manager for Africa, said even though Sudan freed Ibrahim and she left the country, the attorneys with Justice Center Sudan have taken her case to higher Sudanese courts.
“They are trying to use Meriam as standing to challenge the constitutionality of apostasy laws in Sudan,” Thomas said. During the case, the lawyers faced death threats and hate mail, and even now they still have concerns for their safety.
Thomas called Sudan’s move to confine the lawyers “predictable,” and said it did not especially concern the attorneys, who have no plans to leave. They will continue to fight for the defenseless in their country.
“The lawyers when they took on Meriam’s case were aware of what they would face—threats against their life, harassment—and were prepared to suffer repercussions, even government-sponsored repercussions,” Thomas said.