Secretary Kerry Demands Meriam and Her Children’s Freedom from Sudan


Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry publicly condemned Sudan’s conviction and imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman sentenced to torture and death for her Christian faith.


Secretary Kerry’s statement comes after more than 380,000 people have signed our petition demanding that Sudan release Meriam and urging the Obama Administration’s action in her case.

Your voice is being heard on behalf of Meriam and her American children.

Secretary Kerry stated:

The United States remains deeply concerned about the conviction and continued imprisonment of Ms. Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Sudan’s journey has long been a struggle, and back when I was still a United States Senator, I traveled to the region many times to help find greater understanding and hope for a different kind of future. As Secretary, I remain deeply committed to the country and its people. That is one of the reasons we are all so concerned about the travails of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.

Ms. Ishag is the mother of two young children. She and the children should be reunited at home with her family rather than held in prison on charges of apostasy. I urge the Sudanese judiciary and government to respect Ms. Ishag’s fundamental right to freedom of religion. I also urge Sudan to repeal its laws that are inconsistent with its 2005 Interim Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Such actions would help to demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.

While we are grateful for Secretary Kerry’s strong words condemning Sudan for its barbaric violation of the human rights of both Meriam and her children, it remains a travesty that Secretary Kerry and the Obama Administration still refuse to admit that Meriam’s children, 20-month old Martin and newborn baby girl Maya, are U.S. citizens.


Their father, Meriam’s husband, is a U.S. citizen, and thus under U.S law, Martin and Maya U.S. are citizens as well.

We continue to urge the State Department to take action to protect these innocent young American suffering unjustly in a Sudanese prison.

Recently, the ACLJ sent a letter to Sudan detailing, as Secretary Kerry noted, Sudan’s numerous violations of its own laws and international obligations in this case and demanding Meriam and her children’s freedom.

You can add your name to our petition for their freedom at

We will continue fighting for their freedom and hope Secretary Kerry’s statement is a first step toward the State Department’s further engagement in this heartbreaking case.


Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.


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