Meriam Ibrahim – a Christian woman who had previously been sentenced to death in Sudan for her faith – has been released after another detention for accusations of forging travel documents.
“The State Department has received confirmation that Meriam Ibrahim Ishag has been released on bail and is no longer being detained at a Sudanese police station,” said Marie Harf, deputy department spokesperson for the Department of State in a June 26 statement.
“She and her family are in a safe location and the Government of Sudan has assured us of the family’s continued safety,” she added.
In May, the 27-year-old woman was arrested and charged with abandoning Islam. Under Sudanese law, she was considered a Muslim due to her father’s Muslim faith, despite the fact that she was raised as a Christian by her mother after her father left the family when she was 6 years old.
Despite being sentenced to death, Ibrahim refused to renounce her Christian faith. She was released on June 23 after an appeals court dismissed her sentence, but was re-arrested on June 24 while at the Khartoum, Sudan airport for what Sudanese authorities claimed were forged travel documents.
Daniel Wani, Ibrahim’s husband, was granted U.S. citizenship when he fled Sudan to the United States as a child. He also holds South Sudanese citizenship.
The couple's young son Martin has lived in prison with his mother since February. Ibrahim gave birth to their second child, a baby girl, while in prison in May.
Besides the crime of apostasy – or the abandoning of the Islamic faith – Ibrahim was also charged with adultery. Her marriage to her Christian husband was not considered valid since she was legally considered a Muslim.
She was to receive 100 lashes for the adultery charge and was sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy.
More than 140,000 people have signed a petition calling for Ibrahim’s freedom. Numerous members of Congress and religious freedom advocates have asked the U.S. to intervene and ensure her safety, as well as that of her family.
Harf explained in an earlier press conference, before Ibrahim’s release, that while it is a “fluid situation,” the United States and Sudanese governments were communicating “to ensure that she and her family will be free to travel as quickly as possible.”
She added that “from our perspective, Meriam has all of the documents she needs to travel to and enter the United States.”
“It’s up to the Government of Sudan to allow her to exit the country,” Harf said. “As I said, we’re working with them on that right now.”