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Home / Press Release / State Department Urged to Act Swiftly to Secure Departure for Sudanese Christian Woman
June 27, 2014

State Department Urged to Act Swiftly to Secure Departure for Sudanese Christian Woman

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First urges U.S. diplomats to continue to press the Sudanese government to allow Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag to leave the country. Ibrahim, who was recently released from prison in Sudan after the charges against her for apostasy were dropped, was prevented from leaving the country on Tuesday to travel to the United States. Sudanese authorities detained her at the airport for allegedly having false documents. She was transferred to a police station along with her husband – who was held as a potential witness – and their two children. Ibrahim and her family have since been released.

“We welcome her release, but the Sudanese government should end this trauma to Mariam and her family by permitting her quick departure from the country,” said Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke. “The U.S. embassy in Khartoum has assisted Ibrahim and her family, but those efforts should be supplemented by Washington, D.C.-based state department officials at the highest levels communicating directly with the Sudanese authorities to secure freedom of movement for Ibrahim and her family.”

Last week, New Hampshire Senators Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D) introduced legislation to grant U.S. legal status to Ibrahim, a step Human Rights First praised as reflecting America's long commitment to protect those facing religious and other persecution. If Ibrahim is not granted the right to depart from the country, the Ayotte-Shaheen initiative could serve as a potential solution to the issue.

For more information or to speak with Stahnke, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.