Despite the Sudanese government’s stance on Tuesday that Meriam Ibrahim had been, once again, released after a misunderstanding over her papers at the Khartoum airport, the Daily Mail is reporting on June 25 that she is still in detention, along with her husband and two small children. According to the Mail, she is now facing up to seven years for false papers.
Meriam had papers from South Sudan. Her husband is a resident of South Sudan, as well as being a United States citizen. The Sudanese government, however, does not consider her marriage to a Christian legal; therefore, the papers are false. She is now banned from leaving Sudan. She is reportedly locked in a cell at the Al Sheradee police station in Khartoum with her husband, Daniel Wani, son Martin, 21 months, and daughter Maya, one month.
Meriam’s attorney, Shareif Ali Shareif spoke to the Mail. “The authorities do not have the right to hold her. They appear not to want to let her leave Sudan. They are restricting her movements. Her husband Daniel and the children are with her in the same cell. Any reports suggesting she has been released are wrong. We need to highlight her plight.” Mr. Shareif has stated that the travel documents issued by South Sudan were legitimate.
This latest detainment of an American citizen and his family creates a diplomatic brouhaha. Supposedly, Sudan has summoned both the South Sudanese State Department and the U.S. Consulate staff in Khartoum to meetings in an attempt to resolve the situation.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) excoriated the government of Sudan over the treatment of Meriam Ibrahim. He gave an impassioned plea for her safety on Capitol Hill today. Senator Cruz stated that Sudan had “forcibly captured” Dr. Ibrahim. “We need to speak even louder, we need to speak out for Meriam Ibrahim because it is wrong, especially for this young mother, to be subject to torture and murder for being a Christian. That is unequivocally wrong and we need to speak in one voice.”
Senator Cruz called on President Obama to act. “We don’t know what their status is, we don’t know if the Sudanese government is going to reimpose the horrific sentence. It’s a powerful reminder - every one of us cherishes our religious liberty and I bet you to say that virtually none of us have had their faith tested as Meriam has had her faith tested. It underscores the need for all of us to lift her up in prayer and it also underscores the need for U.S. leadership.”
Cruz added, “Sharia law that would torture and murder a young mother for protesting her religious faith is barbaric, it is wrong and it should be condemned. The President needs to say to the government of Sudan, ‘Free Meriam now.’”
The situation is made all the more dire with threats to Meriam and her family. The night she was released, a man by the name of al-Samani al-Hadi, claiming to be Meriam’s half-brother, flew into a rage when he found out she had been released. “We were not informed by the court that she was to be released; this came as a surprise to us. The law has failed to uphold our rights. This is now an issue of honor. The Christians have tarnished our honor, and we will know how to avenge it.”