KHARTOUM: A Sudanese woman who was spared the death penalty for converting to Christianity but was then detained as she tried to leave the country was released from custody yesterday, on the condition that she remain in Sudan.
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was detained at Khartoum airport on Tuesday, one day after an appeals court overturned a death sentence imposed for having converted from Islam to marry her Christian American husband.
Her lawyer Mohaned Mostafa said Ibrahim, her husband and two children had all gone to the US embassy after the release.
Ibrahim was detained on Tuesday for trying to use documents issued by the embassy of South Sudan to fly out of Khartoum with her American-South Sudanese husband and their two children.
Ibrahim waved at reporters as she and her family left the police station where she had been held for questioning and while she found a guarantor to ensure she did not flee Sudan.
Despite lifting her death sentence after huge international pressure, Sudan still does not recognise Ibrahim as a Christian and therefore does not recognise her marriage, as Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men under the Islamic laws applied in the African country.
South Sudan, which has a majority Christian population, became independent from the mostly Muslim north after a referendum in 2011.
A US spokeswoman yesterday said that Ibrahim had all the documents she needed to travel to the United States. “We are in communication with the Sudanese Foreign Ministry to ensure that she and her family will be free to travel as quickly as possible,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.