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Meriam Ibrahim Sentenced to Hang For Her Christian Faith, Released, Rearrested, Now Released Again? Update!

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June 2014
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Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag (27), wife of American citizen Daniel Wani and mother to his children was imprisoned and sentenced by a Sharia court in May 2014, to 100 lashes for “adultery” (with her husband?) and death by hanging for “apostasy” (from a faith that she never knew or practiced?), was released, then rearrested again, but is now taking refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. The Associated Press has reported that Ibrahim, her husband and children were last seen speeding away in two vehicles with diplomatic plates, followed by police cars. According to Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department,

Ibrahim and her family are in a safe location and Sudan’s government, has assured us of the family’s continued safety.

She and her husband think this is a safe place for them. Attorney Mohanad Mustafa

Meriam prison release

Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to a baby daughter in the prison clinic with her feet shackled to the floor, so she needs medical attention. After months of neglect and unsanitary living conditions, recent photos of an emaciated nursing mother surfaced that exposed dreadful circumstances that raised alarms about Ibrahim’s chances for immediate survival. The stress of the situation alone must have been enormous. Siha, a coalition of women’s rights organizations in the Horn of Africa, spoke out about the atrocious conditions in which Ibrahim gave birth.

According to Fox News, Sudan’s national news service (SUNA) reported that after defense lawyers presented their case, the Court of Cassation in Khartom canceled her execution on Monday and then ordered her release. 

We have confirmed through her attorney that she has been released from prison today. Tina Ramirez, Hardwired, a Christian advocacy group

This is a huge first step, but the second step is that Ms. Ibrahim and her husband and their children be on a plane heading to the United States.  Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee.

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Meriam Ibrahim, was sentenced to hang by a Sharia court in May 2014, for “apostasy” because she stood firm on her Christian faith to an Islamic state. That she was eight months pregnant at the time, made no difference to the court. However, after global outrage, an appellate court in Sudan threw out her earlier convictions of “apostasy” and “adultery” which moved Sudanese officials to release her from the women’s prison in Khartoum. Yet, a day later, she was rearrested, along with her family, by about 40 security agents at the Khartoum airport as they tried to leave Sudan.

It’s very disappointing. They were very angry. They took us (the family’s lawyers) outside, and took the family to a National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detention center.  I’m very concerned.  EmanAbdul-Rahim – Ibrahim’s lawyer, 25 June 2014, The Guardian

Eman Abdul-Rahim also pointed out that though the appeals court had quashed Ibrahim’s convictions and that no restrictions had been placed on her freedom to leave Sudan, that political disagreements within the government over the case may be preventing her departure.

When people do not respect the court, they might do anything. Eman Abdul-Rahim, 25 June 2014, The Guardian

On Tuesday night, 24 June 2014, news agencies in Khartoum reported that Ibrahim had been transferred from NISS custody to a police station where she was questioned about her travel papers. A Sudanese source told Agence France-Presse that Ibrahim was accused of using falsified travel documents in a bid to leave for South Sudan, the home country of her husband, Daniel Wani. So she and Wani were detained along with their children. which prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity involving the U.S., Sudan and South Sudan. Ibrahim’s supporters are seeking refugee status for her and recognition of U.S. citizenship for the couple’s two children.

Daniel Wani wanted to start a new life with his family in the United States. However, upon his wife’s release from prison amid supposed fears for the family’s safety, Ibrahim, Wani and their two children were taken to a safe house. Threats in the name of “family honor” had been made against Ibrahim’s life by men who claimed to be her relatives, but Meriam denies even knowing these “relatives.” Her husband, Daniel Wani accused those who triggered the case against his wife, as motivated by a desire to get their hands on her business interests, which include a hair salon, mini-mart and agricultural land. Others speculate that another possible reason could include NISS dissatisfaction with the verdict.

This story is not over, let us hope that it has a happy ending.

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What Happened?

Through the blessings of a Christian ceremony in Sudan, Daniel Wani, a naturalized U.S. citizen, married Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese national and graduate of Sudan University’s school of medicine in 2011. Though their Christian wedding was legal at the time, it was in August 2013, that Members of her father’s family complained to Sudanese authorities that she was born a Muslim, but married a Christian man. They told authorities that her birth name was “Afdal” before she changed it to Meriam and produced a document to “prove” their claim, but her attorney alleges the document to be a fake. Yet, in early 2014, a Sudanese court applied Sharia law to socially reassign Meriam as a Muslim through the heritage of her father. That she and her Christian Ethiopian mother were abandoned by her father and that she was raised as a Christian, found no merit on the court’s ruling. 

In Sudan, it is a criminal act punishable by death for Muslims to convert to other religions. Furthermore, Muslim women are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. Yet, Muslim men are allowed to marry whoever they want, because by law, children must follow the faith of their father. Therefore, because Meriam’s father is seen as the legitimate authority over his daughter and with Islam as the only acceptable status of her religious and cultural identity, her marriage to Daniel Wani was retroactively annulled, which made the children that she bore to him, evidence of her adultery. As a result, Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes and because she refused to denounce Jesus Christ, was also condemned to death for apostasy. That her death sentence was deferred for two years so that she could nurse her baby, was considered “merciful” by Islamic standards.

On 12 June 2014, Secretary of State, John Kerry, made this long over due public statement

The United States remains deeply concerned about the conviction and continued imprisonment of Ms. Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Sudan’s journey has long been a struggle, and back when I was still a United States Senator, I traveled to the region many times to help find greater understanding and hope for a different kind of future. As Secretary, I remain deeply committed to the country and its people. That is one of the reasons we are all so concerned about the travails of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Ms. Ishag is the mother of two young children. She and the children should be reunited at home with her family rather than held in prison on charges of apostasy. I urge the Sudanese judiciary and government to respect Ms. Ishag’s fundamental right to freedom of religion. I also 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. Such actions would help to demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.

That John Kerry finally made a formal written statement to the government of Sudan in defense of Ibrahim’s “fundamental freedoms” and “universal rights” is a good thing. That Meriam and her children have been released from a dreadful prison is great cause to celebrate, but why did the American Embassy in Khartom demand a DNA test from Daniel Wani to prove the children were his?

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It is a basic principle of American law that children born to U.S. citizens are also U.S. citizens. As long as at least one parent is a citizen and meets basic residency requirements, which unlike arguments raised about Barack Obama’s birth nativity, do not appear to be in question here, then under U.S. law, the children are also citizens of this country. The State Department has confirmed the fact that Daniel Wani is an American citizen, but why did they refuse to acknowledge that the children Meriam gave birth to, were even his! Talk about adding insult to injury, this presidential administration never fails to expose a mentality that is not only alien to our values, historical heritage and national identity, but one that is in contempt of it. 

In this You Tube video, the State Department avoids answering questions about whether or not they even verified Daniel Wani’s marriage documents.

Even though Daniel Wani provided all proof required that he was married to Meriam, he said that the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, would not help him until a DNA test can settle the issue.

I will have to take a DNA sample in Khartoum, then send it to the USA for testing. I have provided wedding documents and the baby’s birth certificate, and doors were closed on my face.  I have tried to apply for papers to travel to the USA with my wife and child, but the American Embassy in Sudan did not help me. Daniel Wani, 28 April 2014, Morning Star News

Though Daniel Wani suffers from muscular dystrophy (MD) and is wheelchair bound, a demand for such proof is outside the scope of what is even required by U.S. law. Under U.S. law a child born in wedlock is presumed legitimate with no paternity test required. My goodness just imagine the fuss that would have been immediately raised by our liberal news media if this story had centered on a same sex couple! So the marriage of Meriam and Daniel Wani should guarantee that U.S. citizenship is passed onto the children from their father. Much the way Barack Obama received Kenyan citizenship from the man who signed his birth certificate, even though reasonable doubt does exist that Obama Sr. was actually his father at all. Only a DNA test can verify or dismiss the veracity of that claim. Kenya as Obama’s place of birth is another argument. However, we are talking about a Christian couple and an Islamic government here, so the State Department under the Obama administration tried to be as vague with the Press and American people as possible. In the meantime, they worked hard to put on a good show about their concern for the plight of this family.

So why would the State Department do that?

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Mathew Clark raised a good question about one possible motivating factor behind the State Department’s performance on this very serious issue. In his riveting  article published in the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on 4 June 2014, Clark suggested that, the only reason the State Department required further proof in this case is because it was accepting Sudan’s interpretation of Sharia law, which would align our laws with those of Sudan. Could this be one of many unspoken but desired “Dreams From My Father”  goals silently hoped for in Obama’s  fantasy bio? If such was the case, then the State Department was also retroactively dismissing the Christian marriage of Daniel and Meriam Wani.

Is that what was happening here?

Was our Obama State Department embracing Sudan’s lie, or were other equally disgusting reasons at play here? 

Clark points out that under U.S. law, if a child is born out of wedlock, then other forms of proof, such as DNA evidence, are required to establish with clear and convincing proof that the child is biologically related to the father. 

That’s right, for the State Department to demand DNA evidence to prove paternity means, in this case, that the U.S. government would have to follow Sharia law – the very law that has sentenced Meriam to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery, such as marrying a Christian man.  Mathew Clark, 4 June 2014, ACLJ

Yet, let me be clear, these children were not born out of wedlock and yes, men with muscular dystrophy can father children. Where is the benefit of doubt here? Could it be that our State Department was discriminating against these children because their father has MD, or their Christian status was of no interest to Barack Obama (big surprise), or better yet, Obama couldn’t find a way to turn any effort to rescue them into some kind of political advantage? Whatever the reason, the State Department now appears to be fully engaged, which is good. How unfortunate that it took a global public outcry and a special plea from Congress to motivate the State Department to aggressively take action and do the right thing.  

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Was the U.S. State Department guilty of allowing Sharia law to supplant U.S. law or was discrimination the reason for their lackadaisical attitude and pitiful performance with regard to Daniel Wani’s plea for help in the first weeks? With Obama apologizing to Islamic nations for America’s “transgressions” every chance he gets, the idea that our State Department under his direction would be so politically correct in it’s efforts to ‘kiss up’ to Muslim sensitivities, is not an unfair theory!

Were the lights of publicity and international public outrage an effective antiseptic that cleansed the ideological and moral bacteria from this diplomatic delima? It appears so! From an administration that blathered ridiculous excuses for reasons why it could not rescue Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four other Americans during a violent and bloody attack in Benghazi that lasted for hours, should we really be surprised? 

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That the U.S. State Department finally came through is great, but what took so long? Better yet, why did our State Department demand a DNA test from Daniel Wani before they would even consider the status of his children as American citizens? What if no publicity and international outcry had been raised, would Meriam Ibrahim and her children still be clinging to empty words of,

We are doing everything that we can for you?

Now what of the other American citizens who have been locked away in foreign prisons on trumped up charges? Ignored by the Press, dismissed by the Obama State Department and forgotten by the public, what of those who remain detained in squalid prison conditions all over the world?

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We welcome the Wani family to the United States, as an inspiration to all of us. Yet, other Americans must not be forgotten, let us now shine a light on them: 

  • Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi – A Marine who, unlike  Bowe Bergdahl, actually did serve our country with “honor and distinction,” sits in a Mexican prison after making a wrong turn while driving with guns he legally owned, carried and properly declared at the Mexican border.

Did Obama blow or ignore a chance to win this jailed Marine’s freedom?

  • Pastor Saeed Abedini – Imprisoned  in Iran for trying to legally build an orphanage there.

  • Robert Levinson – Is an American private investigator and retired DEA and FBI agent. He was taken hostage on March 9, 2007 when visiting Iran’s Kish Island while supposedly researching a cigarette smuggling case. Levinson is currently the longest held hostage in American history. U.S. officials believe Levinson, was kidnapped exactly two weeks before the 2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, robert_levinson_296was arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. Family of Robert Levinson, missing ex-FBI agent, releases hostage video”. Associated Press. 2011-12-09

On December 12, 2013, an investigation let by the Associated Press reported that Levinson was working for the CIA, but U.S. officials clearly stated that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture. 


  • Amir Hekmati –  A former U.S. Marine and a veteran of the War in Iraq, was arrested in August 2011 while visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran. According to Iranian officials, Hekmati allegedly entered Iran from Bagram Airfield via Dubai. On 18 December 2011, a confession by Hekmati appeared on Iranian state television and stated that he had infiltrated Iran, in order to establish a CIA presence in the country, but Hekmati’s family claims that the alleged confession was coerced, and that he was not a spy. On 9 January 2012, he was sentenced to death, then on 5 March 2012, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned his death sentence and ordered a retrial. The judges decided that the verdict against Hekmati was “not complete” and referred his case to an affiliate court. According to media reports, Hekmati is still in prison awaiting a retrial.

Obama did not even have the decency to bring up the cases of Saeed Abedini, Robert Levinson and Amir Hekmati, for negotiation before he dumped billions of tax payer dollars of relief aid on Iran!

  • Kenneth Bae – Bae was traveling with five European tourists in Rajin-guyŏk, Rason, North Korea, North Korea Jailed South Koreanwhen officials discovered that he was carrying a computer hard disk that supposedly contained pictures of starving North Korean orphans. Working with evangelical organization Youth With A Mission(YWAM); Bae was accused of preaching against the North Korean government in American and South Korean churches. Recently, the North Korean government also accused Bae of planning a “Jericho Operation” to bring down the government through religious activities. My goodness, if North Korea thinks that Kenneth Bae was planning a “Jericho Operation,” then they should read my article on “North and South Korea Reunited Through Prayer Bombs!” The leadership of North Korea is crazy on steroids, but one day their walls will fall down and the world will see the crimes of that wicked regime.
  • Alan Gross – Gross has been in Cuban custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working as a subcontractor. Cuban authoritAlan Grossies say Gross tried to set up illegal Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was just trying to help connect the Jewish community to the Internet. Former President Jimmy Carter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson both traveled to Cuba on Gross’ behalf, but were unable to secure his release. Perhaps, Barack Obama is too busy with fundraisers, shooting hoops and golf to get involved!

All of these people are American citizens and they are loved, but we should all be concerned with a presidential administration that refuses to even try to secure their release! Voice your outrage about Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, Pastor Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, Robert Levinson, Kenneth Bae and Alan Gross. We need people in government who care about the citizens who elect them and will fight for human rights for everyone, everywhere. That is our American heritage, that is who we really are and if Barack Obama does not want to work that hard, I say impeach him now – Obama gives us so many reasons to proceed!

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Much Aloha!



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