Hours after being set free from death row for being a Christian, one embattled Sudanese has been rearrested.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, first came to public attention last month. That’s when the then-eight months pregnant woman was sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy because she renounced Islam.
“I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian” she told the judge at her sentencing in May, CNN reports. Originally, Meriam was also sentenced to 100 lashes adultery because her marriage to a Christian man was not recognized by the court. She gave birth to a baby girl just two weeks after sentencing.
The case drew controversy and outrage because of the harsh sentence and treatment for the perceived crime of choosing not to be Muslim. Despite the fact that her Ethiopian Orthodox mother raised her as a Christian, Meriam was considered to be Muslim under Sharia law because that was her father’s religion. It did not matter to the courts that her father had abandoned her family years ago.
An appeals court ruled on Sunday that the lower court’s sentencing was faulty. Meriam was swiftly released from Omdurman Woman’s Prison, where she was staying with her 20-month-old son.
“She should never have been prosecuted. Meriam was sentenced to death when eight months pregnant for something which should not be a crime,” Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International Sarah Jackson said in a statement. “Furthermore, her abhorrent treatment, including being shackled, violated international human rights law against ill-treatment.”
Meriam’s vindication was shortly lived because she only tasted freedm for a few hours before being taken back into custody. This time, however, authorities have thrown her entire family behind bars Reuters reports that the Meriam was re-arrested today while trying to board an airplane in Khartoum.
According to one her lawyers, Meriam was being held at a security building near the airport with her husband and their two children. It’s not clear why they were detained at this time. Her attorney told The Daily Mail, “We don’t have any information about what charges they face.”