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.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star