Verdict not final in case of pregnant Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy

27-year old refuses to denounce Christian faith.

Published 19 May 2014  |  

A Sudanese woman was sentenced to death last week for marrying a Christian, but the country's parliament speaker said the verdict is not final.

On May 15, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy.

Parliamant speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen told Um Derman radio station that the verdict will progress through the judicial system, and will eventually reach the constitutional court. Ibrahim's lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, plans to appeal.

Ibrahim, 27, was born to a Muslim father, but left her father when she was just six-years old. Her mother was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, and Ibrahim states that she was raised as a Christian.

Sudanese authorities claim that Ibrahim was raised Muslim, and only recently converted to Christianity. Under Sudanese law, a child is the religion of his/her father.

Ibrahim's family had not heard from her for years, and were upset to learn that she had married a Christian. Her brother filed a complaint against her, leading to her arrest and death sentence.

Court officials urged Ibrahim to denounce Christianity to spare her life, but she refused.

"I am a Christian," she told them.

Ibrahim was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes for adultery, because her marriage to a Christian is illegal.

Her husband, Daniel Wani, feels helpless.

"I'm so frustrated. I don't know what to do," he told CNN. "I'm just praying."

Adding to his dismay is the fact that the couple's 20-month old son is in prison with his mother. Elnabi said that the boy is frequently sick because of the unsanitary conditions.

The lawyer also reported that Ibrahim is having a difficult pregnancy, and that his request to transfer her to a private hospital was denied.

Ibrahim's pregnancy postpones her execution, and she will remain alive at least two more years while she weans the child.

"If Sudan does execute Meriam after this period, they will leave two young children motherless, as well as taking away Meriam's right to life," Amnesty International UK wrote in blog post.

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