Meriam Ibrahim speaks: I gave birth in chains and I fear my baby is disabled

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Meriam Yehya Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim has spoken for the first time of her imprisionment and death sentence. She says her daughter, Maya, who she gave birth to while shackled in prison, may have suffered a disability as a result.

"I couldn't open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table. I wasn't lying on the table," she told CNN.

"Something has happened to the baby...I don't know in the future whether she'll need support to walk or not."

Of her original death sentence, Ibrahim said: "I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was really scared of giving birth in prison".

Now having been freed, but still shrouded in controversy, Ibrahim admitted that she is "really miserable".

"I left prison to bring together my children and settle down...and now there are protests against me in the streets," she said, before sharing of the terror of being detained by officials once again at the airport. Ibrahim and her family are accused of using fraudulent emergency South Sudanese exit papers.

"We were scared and wondering what was wrong. They locked us in that room for four to five hours and the whole time we were trying to figure out what the problem was," she said.

"It's my right to use the papers and have a South Sudanese passport because my husband is a South Sudanese citizen. He has an American passport and South Sudanese passport. I never forged any papers. I was given the papers by the South Sudanese embassy because I deserve it."

Ibrahim also told CNN about her traumatic experiences in prison, where she was reportedly visited by an Islamic scholar who read to her continuously from the Qur'an in an attempt to help her "return" to the Muslim faith. Despite this ordeal, however, she remains steadfast in her beliefs.

"I've always been Christian. I couldn't have been Muslim and not go back, with all the things they said and the way they treat me – with a different sheikh coming to speak to me every other time and women in prison saying all sorts of things like 'don't eat the nonbeliever's food' and calling me a Christian," she insisted.

"There was all this talk and taunts. Even the officers in the prison would join in."

As of yet it remains unclear what Ibrahim's next move will be."I can't even decide what I should do right now. I want to travel but at the same time I don't want to travel," she said.

"But the state I'm in right now means that I'm forced to. There's a new problem every day about me leaving."

Ibrahim is facing the possibility of a retrial, reports confirm. She is currently staying at the US embassy in Khartoum for her own 'safety' after being forbidden from leaving Sudan, but it was hoped she would soon be granted the right to exit. Her lawyer Shareif Ali Shareif, however, has now indicated that she may now face an entirely new trial in the Sudanese courts.

Ibrahim's half-brother, a strict Muslim who has claimed he would execute Ibrahim given the chance, is said to be furious that she has been released and is now attempting use Sharia law to claim legal authority over her.

"Her brother [Al Samani Al Hadi] has launched a new petition to the family court to prove that Meriam is his sister...This would give him a legal right over her," Shareif told the MailOnline.

"But he does not have the authority to demand this right – it is only a father or a mother that can demand this legal status. He is doing this to prevent Meriam from travelling outside of Sudan.

"Meriam has not been officially informed of this latest move," Shareif continued. "She has not been interviewed and has not appeared in court. We are aware of the new legal process but we have not received any documents as yet."

27-year-old Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging on May 11. Though she was bought up as a Christian, the mother-of-two was found guilty of converting from Islam and was also accused of adultery after marrying a Christian man – a union deemed invalid under Sharia law.

A global campaign for her freedom led to Ibrahim's release on June 23, but she was later arrested at Khartoum airport while trying to fly to the US.

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