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Sudan Christian's lawyers to seek dismissal of forgery rap

In this file handout picture obtained from the legal team and taken with a smart phone, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishaq (seated C), a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy last month, poses for a picture with her husband Daniel Wani, a US citizen originally from South Sudan (L), her newborn baby and the couple's 20-month-old son, one of her lawyers Mohanad Mustafa (R), and other members of the legal team at an undisclosed location in Khartoum on June 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO/HO/ISHAG'S

KHARTOUM: Lawyers for a Sudanese Christian woman who has sought refuge at the US embassy will seek dismissal of forgery charges against her so she can then leave Sudan, one of them said Saturday.

"Tomorrow (Sunday) we will submit a request to the prosecution to dismiss the case," Mohanad Mustafa, a lawyer for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishaq, 26, told AFP.

"If they decide to dismiss the case, then they can leave the country," Mustafa said of Ishaq, her American husband Daniel Wani and their two children.

The family took refuge in the US mission Thursday after Ishaq's release from a police station where she had been held since security agents stopped them from travelling to the United States two days earlier.

Monday, Ishaq was released from prison after an appeals court overturned her conviction for apostasy from Islam and a sentence of death.

Ishaq is charged with forgery and providing false information in relation to a South Sudanese travel document she used to try to leave the country.

Sudan says Ishaq should have used a Sudanese passport. Mustafa says she does not have one, but he expects authorities will provide her with one.

It is not confirmed, "but we discussed it with them and we think they will be cooperative."

He added that the government has taken "a very good step to solve this problem."

On May 15, a court sentenced Ishaq to hang after convicting her under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

Not long after her conviction, she gave birth to a baby girl in prison.

Her case raised deep concern among Western governments and human rights activists.

Ishaq was born to a Muslim father who abandoned the family, leaving her to be raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum, which said she joined the Catholic church shortly before she married.

Christian activists say a man claiming to be her brother has stated that the family would carry out the death sentence if she were acquitted.

Wani said such threats forced the family to go into hiding and seek the embassy's protection.

 

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Summary

Lawyers for a Sudanese Christian woman who has sought refuge at the US embassy will seek dismissal of forgery charges against her so she can then leave Sudan, one of them said Saturday.

Monday, Ishaq was released from prison after an appeals court overturned her conviction for apostasy from Islam and a sentence of death.

Sudan says Ishaq should have used a Sudanese passport.

On May 15, a court sentenced Ishaq to hang after convicting her under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.


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