Sudan: Court upholds pregnant Christian woman's death sentence for apostasy

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A heavily pregnant Christian woman has had her death sentence for apostasy upheld by a court in Sudan.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim was arrested on 17 February after her marriage to a Christian man was reported to Sudanese authorities.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports she was brought up as a Christian by her mother after her Muslim father left the family when she was six years old.

On 4 March, Mrs Ibrahim showed the court her marriage certificate classifying her as a Christian. According to CSW, three people who could testify to her lifelong Christian faith were prevented from giving evidence in court.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and received the death sentence for apostasy. She had until today to recant her faith, with the implication being that her sentence would be annulled or reduced.

After refusing to do so, the Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif, Khartoum, has confirmed that her death sentence remains in place, CSW reports.

If the sentence is carried out, Mrs Ibrahim will be the first person to be executed for apostasy in Sudan under the 1991 penal code.

She is currently detained in Omdurman Federal Women's Prison along with her 20-month-old son, Daniel Wani, and concerns have been raised about her health and welfare.

Her husband says she has been prevented from receiving visitors and has been denied access to medical treatment.

A family member told CSW: "We are concerned for her wellbeing. It is not very safe for her to be in the prison with dangerous criminals."

CSW's Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said, "CSW continues to call for the annulment the inhumane and unwarranted sentence and for the immediate of Mrs Ibrahim and her son, who is being held in violation of article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Mrs Ibrahim's lawyers have declared their intention to launch an appeal against the court's decision to uphold her death sentence, a process which could take several months.

Mr Dipper added: "As a Sudanese citizen Mrs Ibrahim is entitled to freedom of religion of belief, constitution. Consequently, this sentence amounts to a violation of the Sudanese Constitution and of international conventions to which Sudan is party, including the African Charter on Human and People's Rights."

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