FaithWorld

Sudan summons U.S., South Sudan envoys in row over Christian convert

(St. Matthew's Cathedral, Khartoum)

(St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Khartoum, 5 October 2013/Shmyg)

Sudan has summoned the U.S. and South Sudanese ambassadors over the new detention of a Christian convert who was trying to fly to the United States with her family after being released from death row, the state’s top security service said on Wednesday.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was freed on Monday after an appeals court canceled the death sentence imposed for having converted from Islam to marry her Christian husband, after the government came under what it called unprecedented international pressure.

But she was detained again on Tuesday for trying to use documents issued by the embassy of South Sudan to fly out of Khartoum with her American-South Sudanese husband and their two children – deepening the diplomatic wrangle over her case.

Sudan does not recognize her as a South Sudanese citizen because, despite lifting her sentence, it does not recognize her marriage to a Christian, something not allowed under the Islamic laws applied in Sudan, where most people are Sunni Muslims.

South Sudan, with a majority Christian population, became independent from Sudan after a public vote in 2011 that ended years of civil war between the two states.

UPDATE – Sudan re-arrests Christian woman one day after release from death row

(St. Matthew's Cathedral, Khartoum)

(St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Khartoum, 5 October 2013/Shmyg)

UPDATE ON TUESDAY -

Sudanese authorities re-arrested a Sudanese woman on Tuesday hours after she was freed from death row, and detained her and her family as they tried to board a plane in Khartoum, a security source and her lawyer said.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, sentenced to death last month for converting to Christianity from Islam, was released on Monday after what the government said was unprecedented international pressure.

The security official said he did know the reason for the re-arrest. One of Ibrahim’s lawyers said she was being held at a security building outside the airport with her husband and two children.