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Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese apostasy woman says her baby is disabled because she was made to give birth in chains

The 27-year-old says doctors have told her they do not know if her newborn daughter will ever be able to walk after her ordeal

The Sudanese woman who was forced to give birth in jail with her legs in chains because she would not renounce her Christian faith says her baby has been born disabled as a result of her treatment.

Meriam Ibrahim’s case sparked international outrage after she was sentenced to death for “apostasy” and imprisoned while heavily pregnant with her second child.

When the 27-year-old went into labour she was refused access to a hospital, instead placed on a table with her legs still shackled.

Read more: What is apostasy?

Speaking for the first time about the ordeal on 27 May, she told CNN: “I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was most scared of giving birth in prison.

“I gave birth chained,” she said. “Not cuffs but chains on my legs. I couldn't even open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table.”

In this file image from an undated video Meriam Ibrahim, sitting next to her 18-month-old son Martin, holds her newborn baby girl as an NGO visits her in a room at a prison in Khartoum

Ms Ibrahim said that doctors had told her the circumstances of her birth and treatment in prison meant her daughter had been left physically disabled, with potentially long-lasting consequences.

“Something has happened to the baby,” she said. “I don't know in the future whether she'll need support to walk or not.”

Ms Ibrahim remains in limbo at the US embassy in Sudan, after the authorities stopped her leaving the country over charges travel documents provided to her, her husband and two children were “forged”.

She told CNN: “How can my paperwork be wrong? My paperwork came from the embassy. It's 100 per cent correct and it was approved by the South Sudan ambassador and the American ambassador.”

While in prison, Ms Ibrahim said she was abused and harassed by guards and other inmates over her faith, and visited by a series of different sheikhs trying to persuade her to convert.MI.jpg

Despite being brought up a Christian, a court in Sudan determined that she was actually a Muslim because her father was a Muslim. It therefore ruled it illegal for her to marry her Christian husband Daniel Wani under Sudanese laws.

Meriam Ibrahim with her husband Daniel Wani

US officials say diplomats are now trying to arrange for Ms Ibrahim and her family to depart from Sudan.

Mr Wani, who holds American citizenship as well as being a citizen of South Sudan, said authorities accused his wife of forging the documents as a pretext to justify her detention “without an arrest warrant”.

“Does it make sense that we try to fly all the way to the United States with forged passports?” he said. They were arrested and detained for two days at Khartoum airport where the family was departing the country, a day after Sudan's Cassation Court overturned a death sentence against Ms Ibrahim and ordered her release.