Freed Christian woman, family detained in Sudan

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm •  Published: June 24, 2014

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — A Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan and later freed has been detained at an airport while trying to leave the country Tuesday, her lawyer said.

Lawyer Eman Abdul-Rahim told The Associated Press that the 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim was held along with two children and her husband at the international airport in Khartoum, the country's capital. Abdul-Rahim did not elaborate and security officials did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington that the Sudanese government had informed American officials at the embassy in Khartoum that Ibrahim and her family were "temporarily detained" over issues relating their travel documents.

Harf said the Sudanese have assured the U.S. that the family is not under arrest and that they are safe. She said U.S. officials are continuing to work on getting them out of the country.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian. Sudan's penal code forbids Muslims from converting to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

Ibrahim married a Christian man from southern Sudan in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father's religion.