Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim's family files new lawsuit to annul her marriage

Trying to keep her from fleeing the country.

Published 19 July 2014  |  

Meriam Ibrahim and her husband, Daniel Wani

Meriam Ibrahim's family filed another lawsuit against her on Friday in a continued attempt to keep her from leaving Sudan.

The first lawsuit filed earlier this week sought to prove the biological link between Ibrahim and her Muslim father, but the suit was inexplicably dropped by the family. A new lawsuit now seeks to annul Ibrahim's marriage to Christian U.S. citizen Daniel Wani.

Although she was raised by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ibrahim is considered Muslim under Sharia law because that is the faith of her estranged father. She was arrested in January for apostasy and sentenced to 100 lashes and death after her family filed charges against her.

The religious freedom case garnered international attention, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned her sentence. Britain's foreign office called Ibrahim's sentence "barbaric," and urged Sudanese Charge d'Affaires Bukhari Afandi to overturn her conviction.

The United Nations also condemned her sentence, and tens of thousands of people signed petitions on BeHeardProject.com, GoPetition.com, and other activist websites.

The sentence was overturned on appeal on June 23.

Ibrahim, her husband, and their children, Martin, 21-months-old, and Maya, two-months-old, tried to leave the country the day after the appeal decision, but were arrested at the airport for allegedly possessing false travel documents. It is unclear if charges have been filed in that case.

The family has been living at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum awaiting a release from the Sudanese government.

An annulment of Wani and Ibrahim's marriage would also mean Martin and Maya are not recognized as Wani's children – something the New Hampshire man feared would happen.

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

A judge will hear Ibrahim's family's lawsuit on August 4.

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