by Zara Mustapha
Meriam Ibrahim who was sentenced to death last month for adultery and apostasy in Sudan has been freed from prison after a court ordered her release.
The case of 27-year-old Ibrahim, who married a Christian American, triggered an international outcry. She gave birth to a baby daughter while in prison.
According to Sudan’s SUNA news, ‘The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the cancellation of the (previous) court ruling.’ The couple’s 20-month-old son was also held in prison with Ms Ibrahim and her newborn daughter.
Daily Mail reports:
MailOnline has led the way in highlighting the plight of Ms Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death on May 15. After international pressure a government official said on May 31 that Sudanese officials were working to release her.
She was only finally freed this afternoon.
Ms Ibrahim’s lawyer Mohaned Mostafa said after her release she had been sent ‘to an unknown house to stay at for her protection and security.’
‘Her family had been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her,’ he said.
Daniel Wani’s brother Gabriel, who lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, said: ‘I need to call my brother to find out what is happening.
‘If it’s true it is great news.
‘Knowing him he will want to bring her back to America as soon as he can. I hope he can do that’.
Safwan Abobaker, an activist who works with religious campaign group Hardwired, which is based in the US, said that the pressure to release Ms Ibrahim had paid off.
He said: ‘The Sudanese government was embarrassed by all the attention so they freed her.
‘It’s better for her to come to America now as her half brother said that he would kill her if the court did not carry out the sentence.
‘The Sudanese government needs to protect Meriam and the U.S. embassy in Sudan needs to find a way of bringing her to America quickly.
‘The U.S. government needs to grant Meriam asylum or find a way to let her come to America right away. She needs to come to America’.
MailOnline was earlier told by human rights groups Amnesty, Redress and Hardwired that they have been unable to confirm that Ms Ibrahim had been freed as they have not been able to reach her lawyers.
The Sudanese government also promised once before to release her only to do a U-turn and then leave her in jail for weeks more.
Safwan Abobaker, an activist who works with Hardwired, which is based in the U.S., said: ‘We want to see her leave the prison ourselves’.
‘Barbaric’: As well as the death sentence for apostasy (the crime of abandoning your religion) Ibrahim was also sentenced to 100 lashes for what the court deemed her adultery for marrying a Christian
As well as the death sentence for apostasy (the crime of abandoning your religion) Ms Ibrahim was also sentenced to 100 lashes for what the court deemed her adultery for marrying a Christian.
Born to a Muslim father, she was convicted under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.
She gave birth just 12 days after the verdict. It had been thought she was still shackled throughout the delivery and beyond, according to the rules which stipulate the treatment of death row inmates in Sudan.
But Mohanad Mustafa, one of Ms Ibrahim’s lawyers, told AFP last week that jailers removed the chains after she gave birth to her daughter.
‘This is on order by the doctor,’ he said, adding that he didn’t think the shackled would be put back on again.
‘After she gave birth the conditions got better,’ said Mr Mustafa. ‘She has air conditioning. She has a good bed,’ he said after he and Ms Ibrahim’s Catholic husband, Daniel Wani, visited her.
Western governments and human rights groups have pressured the Sudanese to relase Ms Ibrahim.
European Union leaders earlier this month called for revocation of the ‘inhumane verdict,’ while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Khartoum to repeal its laws banning Muslims from converting.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the way she had been treated ‘is barbaric and has no place in today’s world.’
Daniel Wani, Ms Ibrahim’s Catholic husband, with their daughter: The couple’s 20-month-old son was also jailed
Ms Ibrahim, born in eastern Sudan’s Gedaref state on November 3, 1987, is the daughter of a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, according to a statement from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum obtained last week by AFP.
Her father abandoned the family when she was five, and she was raised according to her mother’s faith, it says.
‘She has never been a Muslim in her life,’ said the statement signed by Father Mussa Timothy Kacho, episcopal vicar for Khartoum. Miss Ibrahim joined the Catholic church shortly before she married the Mr Wani in December 2011, the vicar said.
Mr Wani was born in Khartoum but is now a U.S. citizen, the U.S. embassy confirmed to AFP last Tuesday.