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Meriam Ibrahim Says Baby Disabled Due to Birthing While Shackled

( [email protected] ) Jul 02, 2014 02:05 PM EDT
Meriam Ibrahim has revealed that her baby, birthed in a Sudanese prison, may be disabled because Ibrahim was forced to give birth while in shackles.
A file photo dated May 29, 2014 shows Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim, who was on death row for marrying a Christian and refusing to convert back to Islam. (AP)

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for apostasy, revealed that the baby girl she gave birth to while chained to the floor of her prison cell is disabled.

In a recent interview conducted with The Guardian, Ibrahim revealed the dreadful details of the painful birth she experienced.

"I gave birth chained," Ibrahim recalled. "Not cuffs - but chains on my legs. I couldn't open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table. I wasn't lying on the table."

Because the shackles prevented Ibrahim from opening her legs, the baby, named Maya, was forced to emerge in an odd position. When asked if she was scared something had happened during the birth as a result, Ibrahim replied, "Something has happened to the baby ... I don't know in the future whether she'll need support to walk or not."

Upon discovering she was sentenced to death, Ibrahim, who also has a 20 month old son, said that she was not terrified for herself, but for her children.

"I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was really scared of giving birth in prison," she told The Guardian.

Ibrahim, along with her family, is currently trying to leave Sudan following her release from prison last week after an appeals court found the lower court's death penalty sentence to be unfounded. However, when trying to leave the country for the U.S., Ibrahim and her husband were arrested at the airport and accused of using forged travel documents to leave the country, a claim denied by Ibrahim.

"It's my right to use the papers and have a South Sudanese passport because my husband is a South Sudanese citizen. He has an American passport and South Sudanese passport," she said. "I never forged any papers. I was given the papers by the South Sudanese embassy because I deserve it. It's my right to have papers like these because my husband is South Sudanese."

Because of all the controversy surrounding her release, Ibrahim is unsure of her next step.

"I can't even decide what I should do right now. I want to travel but at the same time I don't want to travel ... There's a new problem every day about me leaving," she told CNN.

Ibrahim, the daughter of a Muslim man and a Christian woman, was accused of apostasy earlier this year despite her claims that she had been brought up as a Christian since her father left the family when she was six. However, her marriage was declared invalid and she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes.

"I've always been Christian," she told CNN. "I couldn't have been Muslim and not go back, with all the things they said and the way they treat me - with a different sheikh coming to speak to me every other time and women in prison saying all sorts of things like 'don't eat the nonbeliever's food' and calling me a Christian. There was all this talk and taunts. Even the officers in the prison would join in."