Why Meriam Ibrahim Was Arrested Again

A day after being freed from a death sentence for daring not to be Muslim, Meriam Ibrahim was rearrested by the government of Sudan as she attempted to leave the country. Details are now emerging on why that happened and it’s even more absurd than you might imagine.

Sudan has summoned the ambassadors of United States and South Sudan following the renewed detention of Meriam Ibrahim who was trying to fly to American with her family after being released from death row, the Sudanese security service has said.

Ibrahim was freed on Monday after an appeals court cancelled the death sentence imposed for apostasy after Khartoum came under what it called unprecedented international pressure.

She was detained again on Tuesday for trying to use documents issued by the embassy of South Sudan to fly out of Khartoum with her American-South Sudanese husband and their two children – deepening the diplomatic wrangle over her case.

Sudan does not recognise her as a South Sudanese citizen because, despite lifting her sentence, it does not recognise her marriage to a Christian, something not allowed under the Islamic laws applied in Sudan, where most people are Sunni Muslims…

“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 said on its Facebook page, 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.”

Imagine being an agent of the National Intelligence and Security Service of that country and being sent out in a huge group to arrest this obvious danger to national security. Imagine how fucking stupid you must feel. This is absolutely ridiculous. The good news is that she has been released again and is now safe at the American embassy in Khartoum.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Al Dente

    It definitely sounds like different factions of the Sudanese government are playing games with Meriam Ibrahim as the marker.

  • Trebuchet

    Is there some way to grant her emergency US citizenship?

  • colnago80

    The problem is getting her from the embassy to the airport and safe passage out of the country. I don’t think it would be in anyone’s interest to have her, her husband, and her child end up like Cardinal Mindszenty.

  • whheydt

    Re: coinago80 @ #3…

    Getting her *to* the airport is trivially easy. Drive her over in a US embassy vehicle. Probably one with very dark windows. The only tricky parts would be getting her on a plane and the plane off the ground with her on it. Those parts could probably also be managed as a diplomatic operation.

  • abusedbypenguins

    Religion: it just gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling.

  • Synfandel

    …she has been released again and is now safe at the American embassy in Khartoum

    Yeah, safe like Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

  • eamick

    Re: whheydt @4

    They could declare the car to be a diplomatic pouch and load it directly into a plane. The Vienna Conventions impose no size limits on diplomatic pouches.

  • marcus

    Synfandel @ 6 Yeah, safe like Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

    I understand your reservations… It will have to do for now. At least she’s safe from harm.

  • whheydt

    Re: eamick @ #7…

    Well sure. Just fly a C-130 in and do it that way. Don’t forget that if you drive the car onto a cargo plane, there’s the minor matter of the gas in the tank, which a commercial operator might not be very happy about.

  • Martin Lefebvre

    The 82 AA used to do it all the time with their Sheridan light tanks. Not to mention when they did that in Panama it was fully loaded with explosives…)

  • https://www.facebook.com/wes.aaron.5 Wes Aaron

    It is fairly trivial to get the family to US. What is at stake is how it is done. If the Sudan government will allow departure without further interference then it would carry little backlash. However if we just airlift them out of the country without getting Sudan’s OK this could become a much more dangerous affair. I admit the UN has almost completely lost all trust with many parts of the world but with better negotiations it may be possible to allow the Sudan government to want to be more active in the UN instead of condemning negotiations. Most of us saw their reaction at the council on this matter just being brought up.

  • eric

    Is there some way to grant her emergency US citizenship?

    I had a similar thought; she’s obviously a legal resident here, because she came from the US and was just on vacation in Sudan. So the only paperwork that should matter is the US residency stuff.

    Maybe I’m just not used to authoritarian government regulation, but isn’t it SOP when you’re boarding an international flight that they check whether you can enter your destination legally? I am completely unaware of the need for additional paperwork being needed to show you can leave your departure country legally.