News Africa

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Death sentence for Christian woman in Sudan may be reversed

Harriet Alexander

Published 31/05/2014 | 02:30

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Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has come under increasing pressure since the sentencing of Ms Ibrahim
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has come under increasing pressure since the sentencing of Ms Ibrahim

SUDAN'S government is discussing the possibility of reversing the death sentence passed on Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to hang for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

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A representative from neighbouring South Sudan, which seceded from the north in 2011, said that it has approached the government in Khartoum and offered to mediate – because Ms Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, was born in the South.

"The authorities have expressed readiness to examine the case and see how it could be handled with mutual respect," said Charles Manyang, undersecretary for South Sudan's foreign affairs ministry.

"The response we got was positive," he said.

Mr Wani earlier this week said that he is desperately hoping that the international pressure secures the release of his wife of three years.

President Omar al-Bashir, who rules Sudan with an iron-fist and has imposed Sharia law, has come under increasing pressure since the sentencing of Ms Ibrahim (27) for apostasy on May 15. The mother-of-two has repeatedly refused to recant her faith, saying that her Muslim father left the family when she was young, and so she was raised a Christian.

Former US president Bill Clinton described the sentence as "crazy". A petition for her release, organised by the charity Amnesty International, has received more than 660,000 signatures.

Ms Ibrahim gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Maya, on Tuesday – inside the prison, while her legs were still shackled. Last night, her lawyer, Elshareef Ali Elshareef Mohammed said that Mr Wani was able to visit his newborn daughter, wife and their 20-month-old son in prison on Thursday. "She's OK," he said. "She's relaxed now because her legs are no longer in chains. But they will be chained again in three weeks' time."

Appealed

Sudan's government has said they will delay carrying out the death penalty until Ms Ibrahim's newborn is two-years-old – but her lawyers have appealed against the sentence, and last night were putting the finishing touches on a submission to the African Commission of Human Rights, which is based in Gambia. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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