Meriam Yehya Ibrahim: International pressure rises against execution of pregnant Christian Sudanese woman jailed for apostasy
International pressure is mounting for Sudan to release Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman on death row.
On May 15, Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her faith. Although she was raised by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ibrahim is considered Muslim because her estranged father was of Islamic faith.
Her husband, Daniel Wani, is a biochemical engineer living in Manchester, New Hampshire. Last week, his state senators urged Secretary of State John Kerry to secure the release of Ibrahim and her 20-month-old son, Martin, who is also being held prisoner.
"We request your immediate action and full diplomatic engagement to offer Meriam political asylum and to secure her and her son's safe release," their letter read.
Britain's foreign office called Ibrahim's sentence barbaric, and urged Sudanese Charge d'Affaires Bukhari Afandi to overturn her conviction.
The United Nations condemned her sentence.
"The imposition and enforcement of the death penalty on pregnant women or recent mothers is inherently cruel and leads to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," UN officials said in a statement.
Wani's brother, Gabriel, said that Daniel was visiting Sudan in June 2013 to secure U.S. admission for Meriam and Martin, when a man claiming to be Meriam's brother filed apostasy charges against her.
"[The alleged brother] went to Meriam's house and wanted to know why she was not a Muslim. He went to the police and accused Daniel of kidnapping his sister—he meant Meriam," Gabriel told The Daily Mail.
Daniel, who is in Sudan fighting for his family's freedom, reported that Meriam is not receiving adequate nutrition or medical care, and is being mistreated by the other inmates. He also said that her foot is swollen from being shackled, and she is bleeding. Morning Star News reports that Muslim scholars visit her and encourage her to "turn back" to Islam.
"She is psychologically tired," Daniel told Morning Star. "My wife was never a Muslim. As an American citizen, I ask the people and government of the USA to help me."
Ibrahim's pregnancy postpones her execution, and she will remain alive at least two more years while she weans the child.
Sudan's Parliament Speaker, Fatih Izz Al-Deen, said the verdict in Ibrahim's case is not final.
Click here for information on how to take action to call for Ibrahim's release immediately.