Amid tears and hugs, Mohammed Omer Haji was reunited with his wife and baby just before dawn August 24, at Yemen's Aden Airport."He jumped out of the car," an eyewitness at the airport told Compass Direct News Service, and enveloped his family with "uncontrollable hugs and kisses."The 27-year-old convert to Christianity had been escorted in Thursday's pre-dawn darkness from his Immigration Jail cell to the airport, where his wife Sarah had waited since 4 a.m. with their infant son Roger. Minutes later, the accused apostate and his family boarded the 6 a.m. flight for the Yemen capital of Sana'a, en route via Eritrea for a new life in New Zealand. The government of New Zealand accepted Haji and his family for emergency resettlement in late July after negotiations with the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)."They were waving, crying, blowing kisses and huge smiles," said a friend in Aden who watched them disappear into the airport's departure lounge. The refugee family was accompanied by a UNHCR representative and at least one security guard, the friend said. Earlier last week, UNHCR's deputy representative Frank Remus in Sana'a told Compass that his office had requested that the family's stopover in Sana'a and the Eritrean capital of Asmara be "limited—a very short time." At that time, Remus had not yet received the family's exact travel itinerary, which was being arranged by the New Zealand Immigration Service, he said. The family's departure was delayed for nearly two weeks when Yemen immigration officials objected to the refugees leaving on a direct flight from Yemen to New Zealand. Only after the airline tickets were rerouted through nearby Eritrea did Yemen authorities agree ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

November
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
Christianity Today
Somali Convert Released From Jail in Yemen
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.