News / Africa

US Welcomes Release of Christian Woman in Sudan

FILE - Meriam Ibrahim, sitting next to Martin, her 18-month-old son, holds the newborn daughter she gave birth to in jail in May at a prison in Khartoum, Sudan.
FILE - Meriam Ibrahim, sitting next to Martin, her 18-month-old son, holds the newborn daughter she gave birth to in jail in May at a prison in Khartoum, Sudan.
Victor Beattie
The United States welcomed the release from a Sudanese jail of a Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after refusing to revert to Islam under Sudan’s Sharia Law. A U.S. lawmaker has indicated Meriam Ibrahim, married to a Sudanese-American, could soon be on her way to the United States.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the decision by the Sudanese Court of Appeals to order the 27-year old mother of two released from prison, where she also faced a sentence of 100 lashes for adultery. Kerry said her case has rightly drawn the attention of the world and has been of deep concern to the U.S. government, citizens and lawmakers.
 
Kerry said nothing can bring the lost moments back to a mother and her children, but “today we celebrate the reunification of this family.” Marie Harf, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, called on Sudan to change its laws.
 
"We also, at this point, continue to urge Sudan to repeal its laws that are inconsistent with its 2005 interim constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  These actions would help demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.  And, as you know, this is a case we raised quite frequently with the government there and welcome today’s news," said Harf.
 
U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the House Africa Committee, applauded the release, saying Ibrahim’s willingness to face martyrdom rather than recant is "extraordinarily courageous and inspiring." 
 
Smith postponed a congressional hearing on the case set for Tuesday, calling her release a "huge first step." The second, he said, is getting Ibrahim and her family on a plane to the United States.
 
Smith said he expects the U.S. government to grant her and her children humanitarian parole to join her wheelchair-bound husband, Daniel Wani, who is already a naturalized U.S. citizen.
 
Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy May 15. She was born to a largely-absent Muslim father and raised by her Ethiopian-born Christian mother. She has been imprisoned with her 20-month old son, Martin, since her arrest in December. She gave birth to a baby girl while incarcerated.
 
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the court decision came within the framework of the independence of the judiciary and in fulfillment of the provisions of the law, constitution and the bill of fundamental rights.  It said the government came under "unprecedented pressure" from other governments, organizations, international figures and the media. It also called for a review of U.S. sanctions imposed in 1997 that it says cause "continued injustices against 35-million Sudanese people."
 
The UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide organization says Ibrahim, her family and defense attorneys face death threats from family members and extremists.  CSW chief executive Mervyn Thomas called on Sudanese authorities to ensure her safety and that of her lawyers.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More