Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sudanese woman sentenced to death to be released soon

Meriam Ibrahim and husband Daniel Wani
Meriam Ibrahim and husband Daniel Wani

A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity is expected to be released soon, a government official has said.

"The related authorities in the country are working to release Mariam (Yahya Ibrahim), who was sentenced to death for apostasy, through legal measures," Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdelah Al-Azrak said.

"I expect her to be released soon," he added.

Ms Ibrahim had been awaiting the death penalty for refusing to convert to Islam.

Meriam Ibrahim, 27, gave birth to the girl – her second child – in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in the hospital wing of the prison.

Her son, 20-month-old Martin, has been with her inside the cell since she was first charged in February.

Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, who is in a wheelchair, said last week that she was being kept shackled by the ankles in her cell.

She was sentenced to death on May 15 by a court in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Ms Ibrahim denied the charges of apostasy and adultery - the court did not recognise her 2011 marriage to Mr Wani, a Christian - because she said her Muslim father abandoned the family, and she was raised a Christian.

A petition to quash Ms Ibrahim’s sentence, organised by Amnesty International, has been signed by over 640,000 people – but the rights group has been barred from Sudan since 2005.

“Apostasy and adultery should not even be crimes,” said Manar Idriss, Sudan researcher at Amnesty. “It’s a personal choice who to marry and what to believe.

“The human rights situation has been deteriorating for the past few years. It’s an extremely repressive regime, with opposition activists tortured, and the targeting of anyone who dares to defy the regime.”

On Thursday her lawyers filed an appeal at the Appeal Court of Bahri and Sharq Al Nil.

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