Sudan Woman Freed From Death Row Arrested for Alleged Fake Travel Documents

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By: Danielle L. Cowan (Gwozdz)
Senior Desk Operator, Africa

KHARTOUM, Sudan – The Sudanese woman freed from death row has been accused of trying to leave country with fake documents, her lawyer told BBC news.

South Sudan’s embassy issued the document on Monday (photo courtesy of BBC)


The woman, Meriam Ibrahim, was detained on Tuesday, a day after the court released her, annulling the death sentence imposed on her for renouncing the Islamic faith.

Ibrahim, age 27, had been detained at the Khartoum airport along with her family. Her husband Daniel Wani said the family intended to leave the country for the United States. Wani is a United States citizen.

Ibrahim is currently still being held in a police station in Sudan.

United States officials said that they had received assurances that she had not been arrested and would be allowed to leave; however, a Sudan source told the Times of India that she was being investigated for carrying fake documents.

“The National Security took her and Daniel,” said the Times of India source. The same source also told the AFP that Ibrahim had been transferred from the custody of the National Intelligence and Security Service.

Ibrahim’s attorney said that more than 40 police officers prevented the family from boarding the plane to the United States.

“It is very disappointing,” Ibrahim’s attorney stated. “They were very angry. They took us [the family’s lawyers] outside, and took the family to a Niss detention center. They have not been given access to lawyers.”

Her attorney further stated that the appeals court had dismissed all of Ibrahim’s convictions and there were no restrictions on her travelling. He also added, however, that political differences within the government over the case may have played a part in the decision to prevent her leaving.

“I am very concerned,” her attorney claimed. “When people do not respect the court, they might do anything.”

Ibrahim was sentenced to death in May for abandoning Islam when she married a Christian. This marriage sparked outrage around the world.

A court had ruled that she was Muslim because that was her father’s faith. Her Christian marriage of 2011 was officially annulled. She was then sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for renouncing Islam. Sex outside a “lawful relationship” is considered adultery under Sudanese law.

Ibrahim argued against the court’s ruling by claiming her father abandoned her family when she was six and she was brought up by her mother who was a Christian.

The court ruled that she would be released on June 23rd, but she was arrested the next day.

The United States says it is currently working with Sudan to ensure that Ibrahim will be freed.

South Sudan’s embassy says the travel documents are genuine.

Even though Ibrahim was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, the authorities still consider her Muslim because of her father.

For more information, please visit:

BBC News – Sudan death row woman ‘faked papers’ – 25 June 2014

Guardian News – Sudan death row woman accused of forging papers – 25 June 2014

International Business Times – Freed Christian Woman Meriam Ibrahim Accused of Forging Documents to Leave Sudan – 25 June 2014

The Times of India – Freed Christian woman detained trying to leave Sudan – 25 June 2014

The Guardian – Sudan death row woman Meriam Ibrahim detained again – 24 June 2014

Channel 4 News – Meriam Ibrahim detained at airport in ‘abuse of power’ – 24 June 2014

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