By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SURREY, ENGLAND (ANS) -- Human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says it has been told that Meriam Ibrahim and her family are to be released from police custody on bail today.
Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani have been held together with their children, Martin and Maya, at a police station in Khartoum since June 24.
In a CSW news release, the group said earlier today the prosecuting attorney extended the time of detention by 72 hours, after the initial 24-hour investigation window ended without the police concluding their investigation.
Ibrahim’s lawyers successfully appealed the extension, as it violated Sudan’s criminal procedure rules, and the prosecutor accepted that grounds for bail had been established.
The police have charged Ibrahim with forgery and provision of false information under article 123 and 97 of the 1991 Criminal Code, due to alleged irregularities with her travel documents.
CSW said her husband has been charged as an accessory to the alleged offences. The initial accusations were leveled by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which prompted the police investigation.
The full bail conditions are not yet known, but it is anticipated that they will include the surrender of all travel documents and prohibit Ibrahim and her husband from leaving Sudan.
As part of their investigation, the police have spoken to and received written statements from representatives of the South Sudanese Embassy, who have verified that Ibrahim’s travel documents were issued by their embassy and that they are legitimate.
In addition, the family’s attorneys have highlighted the fact that the Sudanese authorities cannot investigate a crime under article 97 which relates to providing false information to a Sudanese official, as opposed to a South Sudanese official.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in the news release, “We welcome the decision to release Mrs. Ibrahim and her family on bail, but continue to be deeply concerned about their treatment. Mrs. Ibrahim and Mr. Wani’s extended detention (despite the provision of credible evidence by relevant officials from the South Sudanese embassy that negates every allegation leveled against them), violates Sudan’s criminal procedures as well as article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a signatory.”
Thomas added, “We call for the charges against Mrs. Ibrahim and Mr. Wani to be dropped, and urge the Sudanese government to allow the family to leave the country unhindered.”
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 2011 church ceremony.
As in many Muslim nations, Sudanese Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, although Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father's religion.
Sudanese law forbids Muslims from converting to other religions. It is a capital offense.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.