June 24: Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman released from prison yesterday after worldwide protests at her death sentence for apostasy, has been arrested at Khartoum airport — after less than 24 hours of freedom.
The 27-year-old was arrested along with her American husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children, Martin, almost two, and Maya, two weeks old. The BBC said the whole family had been detained but other reports said the status of the children was not known.
Their lawyer, Elshareef Ali Mohammed, was with them at the time, and said they were given no reason for their detention. The arrest comes just hours after photos emerged of Ibrahim smiling as she was reunited with her family.
“The National Security took her and Daniel,” a source told AFP.
The couple were detained at about midday UK time as they tried to leave the country, said the source. He said they were taken to a facility of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
It is thought they were hoping to travel to the US, where Wani lives in the New Hampshire town of Manchester.
But the source suggested the arrest was not related to visa or passport issues. “She has the right to leave the country,” the source said.
Ibrahim was released from Omdurman women’s prison yesterday afternoon after state media announced that the Supreme Court had annulled the sentence. She had spent six months in a jail cell, sentenced to execution by hanging for abandoning Islam, despite her protestations that she was raised a Christian by her Ethiopian Orthodox mother after her Muslim father left.
Accompanied by her two children Ibrahim was taken to a safe house in the Khartoum area yesterday afternoon. In Sudan, which imposes Sharia law, apostasy is a crime punishable by death — and earlier this month Ibrahim’s own brother called for her execution unless she “returned” to Islam.
The May 15 sentence also included 100 lashes for adultery related to her marriage to Wani, a Christian. Sudan does not recognise marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims. Some people saw the charges as the result of a family feud — and an attempt by Ibrahim’s family to gain control of her successful small businesses. The sentencing caused outrage around the world, and lead to an international campaign to secure her freedom.