Lawyer for pregnant woman due to hang is threatened
Published 22/05/2014 | 02:30
The lawyer for a pregnant woman sentenced to hang for apostasy in Sudan has received threatening phone calls warning him to drop an appeal against the death penalty.
As international outrage deepens over the ruling by an Islamic Sharia law judge, the lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, is expected to return to court today on behalf of his client Meriam Ibrahim.
"Meriam's lawyer is filing an appeal but he received a threatening phone call to stop working on the case," said Tina Ramirez, director of Hardwired Global, a religious freedom campaign group that is championing Ms Ibrahim's case.
Ms Ibrahim (27), who is eight months' pregnant, is being held shackled to the floor in a women's prison in Khartoum, where her 20-month-year old son is living with her.
She was found guilty of adultery and apostasy, because she married a Christian and refused to recant her Christianity, despite testifying that she had never been a Muslim.
The court ruling delayed the implementation of its sentence – 100 lashes and death by hanging – for two years so that she can give birth to her second baby and raise the child to be a toddler.
But her family fears that she will not survive a second labour in prison, as her first pregnancy was so difficult.
"It would be dangerous for anyone to give birth in jail in Sudan, where the conditions are hell," Ms Ibrahim's brother-in-law Gabriel Wani said.
"But Meriam had a very difficult first pregnancy and she is not receiving the medical care she needs, so we are really worried about whether she will survive."
Ms Ibrahim was raised in a Christian family and married Daniel Wani, a Sudanese biochemist who now lives in the US, in a Khartoum chapel in 2011.
The Sharia court convicted her because her father was a Muslim, even though he left his family when his daughter was six and she never knew his religion.
Mr Wani, who is wheelchair-bound, was "devastated" when he saw his wife for the first time since her sentencing on Monday, his brother said.
"Emotionally, it's really challenging for him," said Gabriel Wani.
He and Daniel fled to the US as refugees in 1998 to escape the civil war in Sudan.
"Daniel is going to stay and fight and we are hopeful that the appeal will be successful," his brother said.
"But it's just so tough. He was devastated when he saw her. We are all praying for her."
Mr Wani had been trying to arrange the paperwork for his wife and their first child, Martin, to move to the US when she was denounced to the police by a man claiming to be her brother.(© Daily Telegraph, London)