Ibrahim's father was Muslim, but she was raised by her Christian mother was convicted of apostasy, a crime punishable by death in Sudan. She was pregnant at the time of her sentencing, but sentenced to be flogged and then hanged. She gave birth to her daughter while chained in prison.
Ibrahim said her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was six. At her sentencing hearing she said "I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian."
The sentence drew internatioanl criticism and was eventually overturned in an appeals court.
With a U.S. visa, Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their two children were on their way to the United States on Tuesday when they were detained and interrogated in Khartoum. Allegedly there was an "irregularity with her documentation," according to her lawyers.
A U.S. state department spokeswoman said, "The State Department has been informed by the Sudanese government that the family was temporarily detained at the airport for several hours by the government for questioning over issues related to their travel, and I think travel documents. They have not been arrested. The government has assured us of their safety." [BBC]
Harf said that the U.S. Embassy "has been and will remain highly involved in working with the family and the government," saying "we are engaging directly with Sudanese officials to secure their safe and swift departure from Sudan." [CNN]