Sudanese court rules to hang woman for refusing to recant Christian faith

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim

(CNN) — Human rights activists around the world are furious about a Sudanese court’s decision to execute a pregnant woman.

Her crime? The court said she abandoned her Muslim faith and married a Christian.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy.

The court gave her three days to repent, but her lawyer says she refused.

“She insisted that she is a Christian and accordingly the court issued its judgment which is death sentence according to Article 126 of Criminal Law of 1991 besides 100 lashes according to Article 146 from the same law,” Muhanad Mustafa Al-Nour, Mariam’s Lawyer said.

Those lashes were for adultery because her marriage to a Christian is void under the law.

The 27-year-old told the court she was raised by her Ethiopian mother as a Christian and has therefore broken no laws.

But the court says she’s not Christian because her father, who left the family when Ibrahim was a child, is Muslim– and it’s against the law for Muslims to marry Christians.

Human rights groups have condemned the verdict. They say Sudan’s own constitution guarantees the freedom of religion.

“Sudan’s constitution enshrines this right itself. And Amnesty International believes that Meriam Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience who’s solely been convicted because of her religious belief and she should be immediately and unconditionally released,” Manar Idriss, Amnesty International said.

The embassies of the US, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands have called on the government to respect that right.

Her lawyer says he will appeal all the way to the African Court of Human Rights and People.

“The court went beyond its mandate, the case should be referred to the family court as it is its mandate to issue the decision if the marriage is legal or illegal after which the final say on whether Mariam is convicted or innocent,” Al-Nour said.

Ibrahim who’s expecting her second child next month remains in custody with her 20-month-old toddler while her lawyer appeals.

She has two years to fight for her life, the death sentence cannot be carried out for 2 years after she has given birth.

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