US senators ask President Obama to give Meriam Ibrahim asylum

"There is an urgency, a dire need for US leadership."

Published 26 June 2014  |  
(AP)

US Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) called out President Barack Obama this week for not doing enough for persecuted Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim.

The senators said that the White House should offer Ibrahim and her family asylum, and secure her safe transport into the US.

Sen. Cruz told reporters Tuesday that the United States has displayed a lack of leadership in the case of Ibrahim, who is married to an American.

"President Obama should speak out publicly and call upon the government of Sudan to free Meriam Ibrahim," he said, according to Breitbart. "Secretary of State John Kerry should speak out loudly and forcibly."

Secretary Kerry released a statement on June 12 urging the Sudanese government to release Ibrahim, and repeal all laws inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Obama has not discussed Ibrahim's case publicly.

The 26-year-old was jailed in January for marrying a Christian man, Daniel Wani. Although she was raised by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ibrahim is considered Muslim because this was the faith of her estranged father. Her 20-month-old son, Martin, and four-week-old daughter, Maya, were also in prison with her.

Ibrahim was released Monday on appeal, but rearrested Tuesday at the Khartoum International Airport for allegedly having false documents. She was released Thursday.

Cruz said that Ibrahim and her family should have been boarded onto a military plane, and sent to the US.

"I think it is a fair question to ask why the administration put her in a position where the Sudanese government could forcibly take her into custody again," he said." Their stated intentions to torture and murder her had been made clear."

Sen. Blunt called for Ibrahim's release on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

"I think asylum in the United States for her US citizen husband, children, and her would be an appropriate thing," he said. "I can't imagine why the Sudanese government would not want to let her leave the country and I'd just like to encourage them today to do that."

Blunt also called for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran since September 2012 for allegedly proselytising. Abedini maintains that he traveled to his native country to help build a state-run orphanage.

"This continued violence, particularly against Christians but against all other religions that governments are in disagreement with, is deeply disturbing, it defies the freedoms that we hold dear," Blunt told senators.

"The United States of America should be the first country to step up and say we're going to do whatever we can to ensure more religious freedom, and in these particular cases, to ensure that the Ibrahim family imprisoned in Sudan is able to leave and Pastor Abedini is able to leave Iran."

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