Celebrations Over Release of Meriam Ibrahim May Be Premature

"Nothing has changed. Meriam is still in prison."

Meriam Ibrahim

So far there are two stories.

Abdullahi Alazreg, under-secretary at Sudan's ministry of foreign affairs, said: "The related authorities in the country are working to release Meriam through legal measures. I expect her to be released soon."


Foreign ministry spokesman Abubakar Al-Sidiq said that he is not aware of any plans to release Mariam Yahya Ibrahim before a ruling from an appeals court.

Azraq said “the government does not interfere in the work of the judiciary because it is an independent body,” the ministry added. “Some media took what the undersecretary said out of context, changing the meaning of what he said.”

That last comes from the Daily Star which does operate in the region and probably has a better read on what is happening.

Sudan is anything but a free country, so this is a question of whether the decision has come from the top down. If it has, then the court will go through the motions and find some reason to grant her leniency. If it hasn't, then this means nothing.

Meriam Ibrahim's lawyer has expressed skepticism that the Sudanese mother will be freed from death row in the next few days, saying only a court could authorize her release – not government officials.

Elshareef Ali Mohammed told the Guardian: "Nothing has changed. Meriam is still in prison. This was a political statement made under pressure from an international campaign."

That could well be. Also Sudan is badly dysfunctional. Furthermore even if she is freed, her problems may just be beginning.

Wani says if Ibrahim is released early, her life and the lives of his two children could be in grave danger if she has to remain in Sudan.

In the Muslim world, it's not unheard of for mobs to handle what Islamic courts don't. And her Muslim relatives, from her father's side, could be contemplating an honor killing.

And that may be Sudan's way of solving the problem by letting the mob do it. We've already seen that in Pakistan.