Appeals court deliberations begin for Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim charged with apostasy

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Meriam Ibrahim with her children, Martin and Maya.

Appeal proceedings have begun in the case of Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim, jailed since January for apostasy.

Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, said that he received notice that an appellate court has begun deliberating his wife's case.

Ibrahim was sentenced on May 15 to 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian and refusing to renounce her faith. Although she was raised by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ibrahim is considered Muslim because this was the faith of her estranged father. Her 20-month-old son and two-week-old daughter are in prison with her.

Shortly after his daughter's birth, Wani confirmed that Ibrahim was willing to die for her Christian faith.

"I know my wife. She's committed," Wani told CNN. "Even last week, they brought in sheikhs and she told them, 'I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change my mind.'"

Ibrahim is expected to be hanged when her daughter is two years old if her appeal fails. Her husband hopes that the international outcry since news of her sentence spread will lead to her release.

"Given the way people have come together around the world—which I want to thank them for—all the rights groups, all the broadcasters... It's looking like it had an effect. Perhaps it will result in the judgment being overturned," he said.

Over 40,000 Americans have signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition urging the U.S. to secure Ibrahim's release from prison, and grant her asylum.

Wani is a biochemical engineer living in Manchester, New Hampshire, and his senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last month asking him to intervene on behalf of Ibrahim. The United Nations also condemned her sentence.

According to Ibrahim's attorney, Eman Abdul-Rahim, the grounds of the appeal are that there were procedural errors during the first trial.

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