By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
We have discussed the plight of Meriam Ibrahim who endured a trial and subsequent death sentence imposed in a Sudan sharia court alleging apostasy and adultery. A Christian woman, she was considered formerly to be Muslim by virtue of her father’s religion though raised by her mother in an Orthodox faith. Having married her husband, a Christian man with American citizenship, triggered the charges. Previous discussion can be read HERE and HERE.
After an international outrage over her arrest and conviction, an appeals court struck down the convictions and released her, and a child born to her while in prison.
As she was preparing to leave Sudan, Meriam again faced the authorities at an airport alleging she had false documentation allowing her departure from Sudan. Once again arrested, she has since been released and has taken refuge in the American Embassy in Khartoum. Yet it seems her ordeal will not be over.
Merriam was arrested on June 24th for alleged forgery relating to an emergency travel document issued by the government of South Sudan along with accusations of providing false information. South Sudan’s embassy in Khartoum confirmed the documents were genuine yet Sudanese authorities claim she should have provided a Sudanese passport. Sudan’s foreign ministry summoned the U.S. and South Sudan charges d’affaires over the matter. The ministry condemned South Sudan for issuing travel documents for Meriam knowing she is a Sudanese national and the U.S. for allowing her to leave Sudan under false travel documents.
Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Authority is reported to have lodged the complaint against Mrs. Ibrahim.
BBC correspondents say that now Sudan’s intelligence agency is involved, Mrs Ibrahim’s case is likely to be more difficult and complicated to resolve.
The power play between the intelligence agency and other institutions of Sudan’s government have cast Meriam into an unwilling role as a pawn and instrumentality of several contentious factions within the government and society. She might at least have some protection within the American embassy, but how long this situation will remain is less certain.
By Darren Smith
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