Meriam Ibrahim -- the Sudanese Christian sentenced to die for her faith -- is free, but she’s not out of danger.
Monday, her attorney confirmed that she’s been released from Sudanese prison, where’d she’d been sentenced to death for the “crime” of apostasy – of allegedly converting from Islam to Christianity.
Sudan also sentenced her to received 100 lashes, a brutal flogging, because it deemed her marriage to an American invalid – denying her even the most basic autonomy over her actions. (According to reports, the Sudanese government will no longer subject her to the floggings.)
Even worse, she was imprisoned with her two young children, American children. Meriam is married to an American, and her children are Americans. They shared her cell and thus shared the dreadful conditions suffered by “apostates” in Sudan.
Every moment she remains in a country that passed this barbaric sentence, that inflicted punishment on small children, is a moment too long. In fact, there are reports that she is now staying in a “safe house” of sorts – a secret location because of growing concern about threats to her and her children.
Do we trust that the same regime that sentenced her to die will now respect her human rights?
Do we trust that she’ll remain free and uharmed when her attorneys are already receiving death threats merely for capably representing their client and upholding international law?
When the eyes of the world are no longer fixed on Sudan, will it continue to protect Meriam?
The answers are obvious. Sudan is ruled by a brutal, jihadist regime that cares nothing for Meriam and may eventually seek vengeance for the public humiliation of her case.
So it’s time to bring Meriam and her family home, to the United States, where they can worship without fear and she can raise her children in safety.
Fortunately, because Meriam’s husband and children are American – and because the danger she faces is so obvious – the Obama administration has the legal tools to act quickly. All bureaucratic barriers must be removed. In fact, there’s no reason why she can’t be on a flight today, a flight to freedom.
While there have been an international outcry to save Meriam, at the American Center for Law and Justice, we supported a global campaign to help free her, bringing international attention to her plight. Earlier this month, we sent a legal letter to the Sudanese government on behalf of more than 350,000 people demanding her release.
"Now, that she’s been freed, we’re calling on the Obama administration to act immediately.
Yes, we want to protect religious freedom in the Muslim world and no, we cannot permit the region to become virtually free of Christians. But we also cannot stand by and merely hope that Meriam will be safe. She is part of our American family.
Let’s rejoice that Meriam is finally free. But let’s not rest until she’s finally safe from harm. After enduring life in a land of oppression, it’s time that she breathed the free air of the land of liberty."
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He’s a New York Times bestselling author. Jay's latest book “Undemocratic: Rogue, Reckless and Renegade: How the Government is Stealing Democracy One Agency at a Time” (Feb 2) is available now. He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live"-- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.