Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sudanese 'apostate' charged with forgery

26 June 2014, 15:35

Khartoum - A Sudanese Christian woman who faces death threats after a court cleared her of apostasy has been charged with forgery, after trying to leave the country, a lawyer said.

"She is arrested," Mohanad Mustafa told AFP on Wednesday.

The charge against Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 26, relates to the South Sudanese travel document she was carrying when authorities stopped the family from leaving Sudan on Tuesday following an annulment of her apostasy death sentence.

Ishag is also charged with providing false information, Mustafa said.

She was detained by national security agents at Khartoum airport, despite the presence of US diplomats who were escorting her and her family, her American husband Daniel Wani said.

They were trying to travel to Washington, Wani said, insisting there was nothing wrong with the travel documents.

Family safety

Sudan's ministry of foreign Affairs on Wednesday summoned the charges d'affaires of both the United States and South Sudan over the incident, official media reported.

US state department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said Washington's charge d'affaires had voiced "our concern that the family should be allowed to depart swiftly from Sudan".

"Sudan has assured us of their -the family's safety... We will continue monitoring the situation and discussing it," she added.

Sudan's foreign ministry criticised South Sudan's issuing of the travel permit, "despite their knowledge that she is a Sudanese national", while condemning the US for trying to help the women leave Sudan "via illegal [false] travel document", the SUNA news agency said.

"We are worried. That's why we want to get out of here as soon as possible," Wani said of death threats against his wife.

Illegal act

A lower court judge sentenced Ishag to hang for apostasy on 15 May, in a case that raised questions of religious freedom and sparked an outcry from Western governments and human rights groups.

An appeal court freed her on Monday from the women's prison where she had been detained with her children, but she immediately went into hiding because of the threats to her life.

Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told AFP the woman should have used a Sudanese passport, but her lawyer said she does not have one.

"That is the whole problem, she took a foreign document for travelling," he said. "What she has done is an illegal act."

However, Osman suggested the situation can be resolved.

A family 'problem'

Kau Nak, South Sudan's charge d'affaires, said Ishag was entitled to the travel document because her husband and children are South Sudanese.

"I'm the one who issued that travel document to her," he told AFP. "My signature is on the back of the document."

After being stopped at the airport, the family and its two children, including a baby girl born while Ishag was on death row, were taken to a police station, a two-storey building on a rough, unpaved alley in Khartoum's Arkawet district.

Ishag remains in custody there.

On May 15, a lower court judge, referring to her by her father's Muslim name Abrar al-Hadi Mohamed Abdalla, sentenced her to death for apostasy.

It convicted her under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

On Monday, an appeals court freed her from the women's prison where she had been detained with her children, but she immediately went into hiding.

'Problem is with her family'

Christian activists say her "alleged brother" stated that the family would carry out the death sentence if she were acquitted.

According to the church, Ishag was born to a Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother.

When Ishag was five her father abandoned the family, leaving her to be raised by her mother, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum, which said she joined the Catholic church shortly before she married.

It said the original legal action against her was filed by men "who claim to be" her relatives.

"The problem is not with the Sudanese government, is not with the court. The problem is with her family," said Information Minister Osman.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...