Meriam Ibrahim release: Woman jailed for apostasy reunited with husband as family 'looks forward to new life in US'

Ms Ibrahim’s release came after lobbying from charities, human rights watchdogs and governments around the world

A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity has been reunited with her family after her release from prison.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, her American husband Daniel Wani and their two young children have been taken to a safe house because of the high-profile nature of the case, but said they are looking forward to starting a new life in the US soon.

UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim detained at Khartoum airport

Amnesty International, which has campaigned on Ms Ibrahim’s behalf since she was put on death row while eight months pregnant on charges of “apostasy”, said her release from Omdurman Woman’s Prison yesterday was “a small step to redressing the injustice done to Meriam”.

An appeals court yesterday found Ms Ibrahim not guilty on two charges of apostasy and adultery, the latter of which was to see her flogged 100 times.

Read more:
What is apostasy?
Meriam Ibrahim freed after court quashes apostasy conviction

Mr Wani said he was “so happy” to be reunited with his wife and children. Their 18-month-old son Martin was jailed with Ms Ibrahim and she gave birth to baby daughter Maya while shackled to the prison floor.

Speaking to the Guardian from Khartoum, Mr Wani said his family were in “relatively good condition” considering what they had been through, while Ms Ibrahim’s lawyer Elshareef Mohammed added that she was “fine and very happy”.

More than one million Amnesty International supporters petitioned for Ms Ibrahim’s release in the past month, and the organisation’s deputy regional director Sarah Jackson said their letters “showed the Sudanese authorities that people around the world were outraged by Meriam’s ordeal”.

Meriam Ibrahim with her husband Daniel Wani Meriam Ibrahim with her husband Daniel Wani “Today’s ruling is a small step to redressing the injustice done to Meriam. However, she should never have been prosecuted.

“Meriam was sentenced to death when eight months pregnant for something which should not be a crime. Furthermore, her abhorrent treatment, including being shackled, violated international human rights law against ill-treatment.”

A number of other Sudanese nationals have been convicted of apostasy in recent years, but they all escaped execution by recanting their new faith.

Ms Jackson added: “Amnesty International will continue to urge the Sudanese authorities to repeal provisions that criminalise acts of apostasy and adultery so that nobody else in Sudan has to endure the same ordeal as Meriam, and to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty.”

The UK Foreign Office was among those who lobbied for yesterday’s court decision, and the minister for Africa Mark Simmonds wrote on Twitter: “Delighted by release of #MeriamIbrahim Important that government of #Sudan follows up to ensure freedom of religion is guaranteed for all.”

David Cameron, who previously said he was “absolutely appalled” when he heard about Ms Ibrahim’s case, tweeted today: “As #MeriamIbrahim enjoys her first full day with her family, we should remember how crucial freedom of religion is around the world.”

The US has indicated its willingness to expedite the family’s route to starting afresh across the Atlantic after State Department spokeperson Marie Harf praised yesterday’s decision.

Congressman Chris Smith, who chairs the US’s global human rights subcommittee and met with the Sudanese ambassador to discuss the case, said the release was “a huge first step”.

“But the second step is that Ms Ibrahim and her husband and their children be on a plane heading to the United States,” Mr Smith added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project