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House subcommittee to hold hearing on the 'troubling case of Meriam Ibrahim'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Islam,Sudan,Christianity,Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim, the 27-year-old mother of two currently residing in the U.S. embassy in Sudan awaiting a flight to America, will receive a hearing Wednesday in the U.S. examining her situation.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee focused on human rights will discuss the human rights abuse perpetrated on Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for supposedly leaving Islam.

“Meriam Ibrahim Ishag has been imprisoned in Sudan in fear of execution, chained during the late stages of her pregnancy, forced to give birth in prison, released from prison and re-arrested on flimsy charges,” said subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith, R-N.J. “This all is the result of her being Christian in a country in which the ruling authorities refuse to recognize the right of people to choose their own religion. Our hearing will examine this troubling violation of a basic human right.”

Smith said in a press release sent to reporters that he originally scheduled the hearing for June 24, but postponed when Ibrahim was released from prison. Because Ibrahim was re-arrested shortly thereafter, Smith called for another hearing.

Ibrahim's plight is not over. Last week, a lawsuit filed against her by her family seeking to prove she was a Muslim was dropped, and a second lawsuit was filed trying to annul her marriage to U.S. citizen Daniel Wani. The lawsuits are an attempt by her family to keep Ibrahim in Sudan and exact punishment on her for supposedly leaving Islam.

If the lawsuit is successful and the marriage is annulled, the couple's children will be taken away, according to Wani.

"An illegitimate marriage does not result in legally recognized offspring, which means that my son and the new baby are no longer mine," Wani said in May.

Ibrahim’s troubles began when her family turned her in to the police for the crime of apostasy (leaving Islam) after she married Wani, a Christian. Because interfaith marriages are prohibited in Sudan, the marriage wasn’t recognized, which caused Ibrahim to also be charged with adultery.

Ibrahim was raised by her Christian mother, but under Sudan law, children take the faith of their father. Ibrahim’s father was a Muslim, even though he was never part of her life. Ibrahim said she never practiced Islam.

Though Ibrahim is currently safe in the U.S. embassy in Khartoum with her family, she fears for her life. Her brother wants her hanged for apostasy and until the lawsuits are closed, she will have to remain in Sudan.

The new lawsuit will be heard in court on Aug. 4.

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