Meriam Ibrahim and her family are resting at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, according to The Guardian on June 27. Her husband, Daniel Wani, expressed relief and said the family is doing well and everyone is being “very helpful and very nice.”
The family has been at the U.S Embassy since late Thursday afternoon after being detained at Khartoum Airport attempting to leave the country. Meriam was rearrested for supposedly using “false documents,” legally issued by South Sudan but not recognized by Sudan. A U.S. State Department spokesperson said that the family was in a safe location and their continued safety has been assured by Sudan.
Daniel Wani, a native of South Sudan, became a U.S. citizen in 2005. He said he hoped his family could start a new life in America together. The family’s goal is to “depart as swiftly as possible from Sudan” and the U. S. Embassy has pledged its help. Wani married Dr. Ibrahim in 2011.
Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Sudanese physician, was condemned to death in May. She gave birth to her daughter Maya while shackled to the floor in prison. The case caused an international brouhaha unlike any in recent times. The sentence was to be carried out in two years, after Maya was weaned. Her 21-month-old son Martin was even locked up with her in prison. Daniel Wani had very limited access to his wife.
Meriam Ibrahim was condemned on the “evidence” of so-called male relatives who claimed she was a Muslim. Meriam’s father was Muslim, but abandoned the family when she was very young and her Orthodox Christian mother raised the children in that faith. The Sudanese court said her marriage to Christian Daniel Wani was not legal as it is illegal in Sudan for a Muslim woman to marry outside her faith. It’s not illegal, though, for a man to do this, so Meriam’s father’s marriage to her Christian mother was not in dispute.
The problem with her travel documents came from the court’s belief that since they declared her marriage illegal, the papers issued for her by her husband’s country of origin were also illegal. Daniel Wani contends that these charges were filed in an attempt to get his land and property. Wani owns a hair salon, mini-mart and some agricultural land.
The family is temporarily safe, but there have been threats from Muslim men who feel that they have been denied justice when Meriam Ibrahim was released from her death sentence. Even a “half-brother” has come forward and stated he will get justice by killing her himself as he was denied justice in the courts.
The family should land in the United States soon, but the danger may not be over. Daniel Wani and his brother Gabriel live in New Hampshire. He has never tried to hide his whereabouts. There are still many here who believe in the Sharia law that condemned Meriam. Hopefully, the United States will become a safe haven for Daniel, Meriam and their children and their nightmare will end.