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June 23. 2014 9:37PM

Reports say Sudan to release sister-in-law of NH man


The wedding photo of Daniel Wani, left, and Meriam Yehya Ibrahim. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER — A city man is hopeful his sister-in-law’s ordeal that kept her in a Sudanese prison facing a death sentence is finally coming to an end.

Gabriel Wani said he has been desperately trying to reach his brother, Daniel, in Sudan to confirm reports Monday that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim has been released from prison and reunited with her husband.

“I keep calling and the phone is busy,” Gabriel Wani said.

CNN reported that a Sudanese appeals court found an initial judgment against the woman was faulty. Ibrahim’s lawyer said the appeals ruling allowed Ibrahim, her toddler son and a baby girl born last month in prison to be released from custody.

Gabriel Wani said he is wary of any information that comes from the Sudanese government and that he and his brother would believe Ibrahim was free only after she walked out of the prison in Khartoum with her children.

The CNN report quoted Ibrahim’s attorney, which gave Gabriel hope his brother’s family was together and safe somewhere outside the prison walls.

It also made Gabriel more desperate to try to reach his brother.

“I have to confirm it,” he said.

International pressure on Sudan has been mounting since news surfaced that Ibrahim, who was eight-months pregnant at the time, was sentenced to hang after refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

She was convicted of aspostasy — converting from Islam — and was sentenced to hang despite maintaining all along she had been raised as a Christian.

Under Sharia law in Sudan, she was considered a Muslim because her father was a Muslim. As a Muslim, she could not legally marry a Christian, which Daniel Wani is, and their marriage was not recognized.

That led to a conviction on adultery charge and a flogging sentence of 100 lashes.

Gabriel and Daniel Wani fled Sudan in 1998 and became U.S. citizens in 2005.

U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster of New Hampshire issued statements about the Sudanese court’s decision.

“It’s overdue and welcome news that Meriam Ibrahim has been ordered released,” Shea-Porter said. Kuster’s statement condemned the sentencing and imprisonment as a horrific violation of human rights.“I’m thrilled that justice has finally been served for Miriam Ibrahim,” Kuster said.

dalden@unionleader.com


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