Meriam Ibrahim's release confirmed but Sudanese Christian woman and lawyers threatened, says CSW

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed the release of Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian Sudanese mother sentenced to death for apostasy.

Ibrahim is wed to a Christian man - Daniel Wani who currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire - but under Sharia law in Sudan she is considered a Muslim and her marriage has been deemed invalid.  

She was also found guilty of adultery and on May 11, was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging.

Despite the opportunity for freedom, she refused to recant her faith and gave birth to a daughter, Maya, in the Omdurman Federal Women's Prison in North Khartoum on May 27.

While behind bars, she was reportedly visited by an Islamic scholar who read to her continuously from the Koran in order to help her 'return' to the Islamic faith. However, she remained steadfast and refused to renounce her Christian beliefs.

As concerns for her welfare grew, Ibrahim's plight gained international attention, with calls for Sudan to repeal her sentence as a matter of human rights.

British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Sudanese authorities "to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her [Ibrahim] and her children.

"Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right," he added.

Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have each lambasted Ibrahim's treatment as "abhorrent", and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declared: "I wholeheartedly endorse this call for the death sentence to be dropped."

Amnesty International, which campaigns for global human rights, has received over 250,000 signatures on its petition asking Sudan to release the prisoner, and another petition on Change.org has now reached almost one million signatures.

The Sudanese court's decision to reverse her sentence, recognise her marriage and order her release has therefore been welcomed by those campaigning for Ibrahim's freedom.

CSW reports that it received information today, June 23, which confirms the court has declared Ibrahim "innocent of all charges".

Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, "We are delighted to hear that Mrs Ibrahim and her children have been released into the care of her husband and that the unjust, inhumane and unwarranted sentences have been annulled.

"However, we remain appalled by the threats and hate speech that has been aired seemingly unhindered against Mrs Ibrahim and her lawyers and urge the international community to hold the Sudanese authorities to account for her safety and that of her lawyers," he added.

"The right to freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed both by international statutes to which Sudan is party and article 38 of Sudan's Interim Constitution. The Sudanese authorities have a duty to ensure the protection of any citizen who seeks to exercise or uphold this right."

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