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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins responded to news today that a Sudan court has overturned an earlier ruling and released Meriam Ibrahim from prison. Meriam is a Sudanese Christian, married to a U.S. citizen, who in the earlier ruling was sentenced to death for the "crime" of converting from Islam, and to 100 lashes for "adultery."
Meriam spent months in a notoriously rank Sudanese prison with her 21-month-old son and her newborn daughter. More than 53,000 people have signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition asking President Obama to grant her expedited safe haven in the United States.
Perkins is scheduled to meet with Sudan's ambassador on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
Perkins responded with the following comments:
"We are grateful and relieved to learn that Meriam and her two small children have been released after spending months in a prison notorious for torture and its high infant mortality rate. While we are pleased that a Sudanese appeals court has ordered her release and canceled a previous ruling sentencing her to death for the crime of 'apostasy,' we remain deeply concerned about Meriam's safety now that she has been released. Her own half-brother reportedly told the media that he believes she should be killed.
"More than 53,000 Americans have signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling on the Obama administration to immediately extend safe haven to Meriam and her two children who are eligible for U.S. citizenship. Despite the pleas of tens of thousands, the State Department's vague statements in recent weeks have made no reference to the possibility of safe haven.
"We applaud the efforts of Members of Congress like Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who have been working for Meriam's release. Now that she is free, we call on the Obama administration to act by ensuring the U.S. Embassy in Sudan provides immediate assistance to Meriam, her husband and her children. Secretary John Kerry should prioritize their paperwork and provide a safe haven to this persecuted American family," concluded Perkins.