“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death.”
|Those terrifying words were spoken to Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a heavily pregnant Sudanese Christian. She’s just been sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ – leaving Islam. Please take action for Meriam now. Meriam was arrested on 17 February, and sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and death for apostasy, after Sudanese authorities became aware of her marriage to a Christian man. She is currently detained in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison along with her 20-month-old son, Martin Wani. Since she was arrested she’s been allowed no visitors, and has been denied vital medical treatment. Although she testified that she is a life-long Christian, the court ruled she had abandoned Islam, and was originally Muslim because her father, who left her Christian mother when Meriam was six, was a Muslim. Since Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, her marriage is invalid under Islamic law – so she was convicted of adultery as well as apostasy.|
|Meriam is heavily pregnant, and has a toddler to look after too in prison. We can’t allow this terrible injustice to continue. Email the Sudanese embassy in the UK to protest Meriam’s sentence. Thank you for taking action. Blessings Emma CSW Campaigns Team|
|Working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice. CSW. PO Box 99, New Malden, KT3 3YF|
Sudan woman faces death for apostasy
A Sudanese court has sentenced a woman to hang for apostasy after she left Islam and married a Christian man.
"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death," the judge told the woman, AFP reports.
Western embassies and rights groups had urged Sudan to respect the right of the pregnant woman to choose her religion.
Local media report the sentence would not be carried out for two years after she has given birth.
I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy”
End Quote Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag
Sudan has a majority Muslim population, which is governed by Islamic law. It rules that apostasy – the abandonment of one’s religious faith – is a crime.
The judge also sentenced the woman to 100 lashes after convicting her of adultery – because her marriage to a Christian man was not valid under Islamic law.
Earlier in the hearing, an Islamic cleric spoke with her in a caged dock for about 30 minutes, AFP reports.
Then she calmly told the judge: "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."
Amnesty International said the woman, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood.
In court, the judge addressed her by her Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.
She was convicted of adultery on the grounds that her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan was void under Sudan’s version of Islamic law, which says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims.
The woman was originally sentenced to death on Sunday but given until Thursday to return to Islam.
The BBC’s Osman Mohamed, in Khartoum, says death sentences are rarely carried out in Sudan.
On Tuesday, the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands issued a joint statement expressing "deep concern" about the case and urging Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, AFP says.
The woman was arrested and charged with adultery in August 2013, and the court added the charge of apostasy in February 2014 when she said she was a Christian and not a Muslim, Amnesty said.
The group called for her immediate release.
She is said to be eight months’ pregnant