Lawyers seek to dismiss forgery charges against Ishag

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iol pic afr Mideast Sudan

Associated Press

In this still image made from an undated video provided by Al Fajer, a Sudanese non-governmental organisation, Mariam Yahya Ibrahim breast-feeds her newborn daughter. Picture: Al Fajer

Khartoum - Lawyers for a Sudanese Christian woman who has sought refuge at the US embassy will seek dismissal of forgery charges against her so she can then leave Sudan, one of them said on Saturday.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) we will submit a request to the prosecution to dismiss the case,” Mohanad Mustafa, a lawyer for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 26, told AFP.

“If they decide to dismiss the case, then they can leave the country,” Mustafa said of Ishag, her American husband Daniel Wani and their two children.

The family took refuge in the US mission on Thursday after Ishag's release from a police station where she had been held since security agents stopped them from travelling to the United States two days earlier.

On Monday, Ishag was released from prison after an appeals court overturned her conviction for apostasy from Islam and a sentence of death.

Ishag is charged with forgery and providing false information in relation to a South Sudanese travel document she used to try to leave the country.

Sudan says Ishag should have used a Sudanese passport. Mustafa says she does not have one, but he expects authorities will provide her with one.

It is not confirmed, “but we discussed it with them and we think they will be co-operative.”

He added that the government has taken “a very good step to solve this problem.”

On May 15, a court sentenced Ishag to hang after convicting her under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

Not long after her conviction, she gave birth to a baby girl in prison.

Her case raised deep concern among Western governments and human rights activists.

Ishag was born to a Muslim father who abandoned the family, leaving her to be raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum, which said she joined the Catholic church shortly before she married.

Christian activists say a man claiming to be her brother has stated that the family would carry out the death sentence if she were acquitted.

Wani said such threats forced the family to go into hiding and seek the embassy's protection. - AFP


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