Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Diplomatic row as 'apostate' mom is re-arrested

25 June 2014, 12:32

Khartoum - The Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned the American and South Sudanese ambassadors after a Christian-convert woman attempted to travel to the United States using documents issued by the embassy of South Sudan, the state's top security service said on Wednesday.

The move escalated a diplomatic row over Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, who was detained as she and her American husband and two children sought to fly out of Khartoum on Tuesday, a day after she was released from death row.

Ibrahim was freed on Monday by an appeals court which cancelled the death sentence imposed on her for having converted to Christianity from Islam, after the government came under what it called unprecedented pressure.

"The airport passport police arrested Abrar after she presented emergency travel documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy and carrying an American visa," Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services' media department said on Facebook, referring to Ibrahim by her Muslim name.

"The Sudanese authorities considered [the action] a criminal violation, and the Foreign Ministry summoned the American and South Sudanese ambassadors," it added.

International outcry

Under Sudan's penal code, forging a document is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Ibrahim's lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, told Reuters that she is expected to stay in police custody for 24 hours.

Her case triggered an international outcry and was closely monitored by Washington and London, who last month summoned the Sudanese charge d'affaires to protest against Ibrahim's initial death sentence.

Following her brief release on Monday, Ibrahim was sent to a secret location for her protection after her family reported receiving threats, another one of her lawyers had said.

In Washington, the US state department offered a different version of events on Tuesday, saying the Sudanese government had told the United States that Ibrahim had been detained for several hours and then released but that she had not been arrested.

Safe and swift departure

"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," state department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.

"The government has assured us of their safety," Harf added, saying that the US embassy was "highly involved" in working with the family and the government to resolve the matter.

"We are engaging directly with Sudanese officials to secure their safe and swift departure from Sudan."

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Sudan since 1997 over alleged human rights violations. It intensified sanctions in 2006 over Khartoum's actions in its conflict with rebels in the western region of Darfur.

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. Islamic laws are applied in Sudan, where most of its people are Sunni Muslims.

The relationship between the two Sudanese neighbours have been relatively calm since South Sudan's secession.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...