Dozens of Sudanese security agents reportedly stopped a Christian woman and her family from trying to leave the country Tuesday, a day after she was granted a reprieve from a death sentence for apostasy.
Meriam Ibrahim's case garnered international attention in May when she was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian man. She was pregnant at the time the sentence was issued. She also faced 100 lashes for adultery, after the court found her marriage was not valid.
An appeals court overturned those rulings. Her husband, Daniel Wani, is an American citizen. Ibrahim said she was raised as a Christian.
She was released from prison Monday after six months. Then, in a scene out of a bad movie, 40 National Intelligence and Security Service agents detained her at the airport Tuesday as she and her family tried to leave Sudan. "The authorities are saying she has been freed from prison but is not free to leave Sudan at this stage," an official told reporters."
Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in prison, reportedly was released a few hours later, and officials claimed the hold-up was about her paperwork.
A State Department spokeswoman said the United States is working to arrange the family's safe passage out of Sudan.
"The [Sudanese] government has assured us of their safety," said spokeswoman Marie Harf. "The Embassy has been and will remain highly involved in working with the family and the government. We are engaging directly with Sudanese officials to secure their safe and swift departure from Sudan."