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June 27. 2014 6:06PM

UPDATED: State Department says Ibrahim, family in safe location in Sudan

MANCHESTER _ The wife of a Manchester man and two children taken into custody while trying leave Sudan are being held in a safe location, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Friday.

Marie Harf would not confirm reports the Meriam Ibrahim and her family were at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum with Ibrahim’s husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen from Manchester.

"For their safety, we won’t be discussing their location from here," Harf said during a press briefing Friday afternoon.

Ibrahim was freed earlier this week from a Sudanese prison after an appeals court overturned a ruling and death sentence she faced on a charge of leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter last month in the prison and her toddler son was being held with her during her incarceration.

Although they were freed from the prison, they were detained while trying to fly out of the country Thursday and released on bail.

Harf said the State Department believes Ibrahim and the children have secured the necessary documents to leave the country, but would not discuss any travel plans that may be pending, again citing safety concerns.

Wani’s brother, Gabriel, who also lives in Manchester, said Friday he had not been able to speak to his brother for days and was not certain where the family was or when they may be able to leave.

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire issued a joint statement Friday saying it was still up to the Sudanese government to allow the family to leave the country.

“This is a step in the right direction,” the senators said. “We will continue to work closely with Mr. Wani and the State Department to ensure that Ms. Ibrahim and her children are brought quickly and safely to the United States.”

dalden@unionleader.com


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