June 26, 2014 at 8:43 am

Sudanese Christian woman who faced death sentence freed again

Khartoum, Sudan — A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for apostasy was overturned was freed again on Thursday after being detained on accusations of forging travel documents.

Eman Abdul-Rahman, the lawyer for 27-year-old Mariam Ibrahim, told the Associated Press that she was released from a police station after foreign diplomats pressed the government to free her. She was detained along with her husband and two small children, one born behind bars, at Khartoum’s airport on Tuesday while trying to leave the country with her family.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian man from southern Sudan in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father’s religion.

Sudan’s penal code forbids Muslims from converting to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

The sentence drew international condemnation, with Amnesty International calling it “abhorrent.” The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply disturbed” by the sentence and called on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.

On Monday, Sudan’s Court of Cassation threw out Ibrahim’s death sentence and freed her after a presentation by her legal team.