Verdict not final for woman sentenced to death for her faith, official says

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KHARTOUM, Sudan — As outrage grows over a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christianity, the government defended the verdict, but said it’s only preliminary.

A Khartoum court this week convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith.

Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, is a Christian, her husband said. But the court considers her a Muslim.

“I’m so frustrated. I don’t know what to do,” said her husband, Daniel Wani. “I’m just praying.”

100 lashes

The court also convicted her of adultery and sentenced her to 100 lashes because her marriage to a Christian man is considered void under Sharia law.

But Sudanese parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen said the verdict is not final and is in the hands of the judiciary.

The verdict will go through all the judicial stages to reach the constitutional court, Izz Al-Deen told Um Derman radio station. His comments were cited Friday by the official Sudanese News Agency.

Ibrahim says she was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was age 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian.

The court warned her to renounce her Christianity by Thursday, but she held firm to her beliefs.

But the parliament speaker said that claims she was raised as non-Muslim are untrue.

She is a Muslim raised in an Islamic environment and the person who filed the charges is her brother, who is also a Muslim, according to Izz Al-Deen.

Her brother filed a complaint alleging she had gone missing for several years and her family was shocked to find out she married a Christian, according to her lawyer.

However, because her father was Muslim, the courts considered her one too, which would mean her marriage to a non-Muslim man is void.

Attempts to contact Sudan’s justice minister and foreign affairs minister were unsuccessful.

Pregnant with toddler in prison

Ibrahim’s husband is struggling to survive.

He uses a wheelchair and “totally depends on her for all details of his life,” said Mohamed Jar Elnabi, her lawyer.

In addition to her pregnancy, the couple’s 20-month-old toddler is with her in prison, and he is getting regular ailments due to lack of hygiene and the presence of bugs, the lawyer said.

She’s having a difficult pregnancy, and a request to send her to a private hospital was denied, the lawyer said.

There also is the question of the timing of a potential execution.

In past cases involving pregnant or nursing women, the Sudanese government waited until the mother weaned her child before executing any sentence, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide spokeswoman Kiri Kankhwende.

Worldwide condemnation

Right groups and foreign embassies worldwide condemned the verdict.

“The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered,” said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher.

Katherine Perks with the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies said the verdict goes against Sudan’s “own constitution and commitments made under regional and international law.”

Foreign embassies in Khartoum, including those of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, urged the government to reverse course.


  • Luvtheday

    Those people are sick and belong to the devil if they plan on killing that woman! They need to let her go back to her husband!

  • Laura

    How can the television be full of minute by minute status of a white man making racial remarks as he was taped without his knowledge or permission, yet this is happening and no one knows. How can this be allowed? She could lose her life for being a Christian? Where is the outrage about this? Where are the news reports,twitter remarks, and daily conversation about this injustice? Come on everyone, let’s stand up and talk about this!!!

  • SMH

    Laura, This is isn’t about race. If you listen to conservative radio they are asking the same questions you raise. I was listening to this news story just yesterday on conservative radio. I haven’t seen any mention of this on liberal news media. It’s all about this woman being a Christian. Liberal media doesn’t bother with such things. No need to throw the race card into this persecution of yet another Christian who won’t renounce her faith. We need to pray for this young mother and her child.

    • Learnthelaw

      You do know this has been covered on “liberal media” news for a while now? You should try removing your head from your rear and look at past reports of the problems in Sudan. I guess you’ve been able to ignore the genocides and starving people until a “conservative” tells you to care about one person……..not the millions that have and will die.

      • SMH

        Learnthelaw… This was to comment on this ONE article…Why don’t you remove your head from your rear and read ALL the comments before you respond. Of course there have been past reports on the genocide and the starvation going on in Sudan. But this isn’t what this article is about is it? My point was that this isn’t a race issue. And for this issue ONLY I have not heard or seen any news concerning this young mother on liberal radio or TV.

  • Debbie

    This literally breaks my heart. To think of this woman being locked up while pregnant is horrific itself much less having her 2 year old with her. What kind of people are they? Its almost like having another Hitler. I have heard about this story on the news once or twice but I agree with the other poster this needs to be reported on daily. This woman needs help. She needs somebody to stand up for her. I applaud her faith she has in her religion. All she had to do is deny being a Christian, but she chose to stand firm in her believe and put her life in Gods hands. I’m praying His will be done in this situation.

  • Sherry

    Plenty of people care about Christianity, myself included. We do need to pray for this woman and her family. She cares more about her faith than her own life. That is a lot more than most people can claim. I think most people would save their own life first, even if it meant denouncing their faith. It reminds me of the saying, something like, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.

    • SMH

      dg… there is a cowardly poster who is always posting comments like this under another persons name. If you see stupid comments like this it is always the cowardly faithc… not the real FaithC. I have seen this posters comments and she seems to be a compassionate person, not this coward who has nothing better to do than look for an opportunity to post something that is unkind or unwarranted. Just wanted you to know.

    • Luvtheday

      Learn to spell dg! You mean “their”, NOT “there” and “ideology”, NOT “idiology”! You are the ignorant one!

  • B

    American shouldn’t get involved in the affairs of other countries beliefs and traditions. She knew she was going against her customs and what the consequences would be. At one time, if you went against an established Christian belief in certain denominations the result would be a punishment of death.

    • its my business

      As we move forward into THIS century, it is posts like this that matter. These posts open the closed eyes and, in some cases find people that are willing to help in some way or make a huge difference in the lives of other people and countries.

  • InventorNC

    Pathetic. “We say you are Muslim” LOL! I say she should be allowed to be whatever she wants.

    Sounds like the Muslims there are insecure, no? Gonna lose all their people to other religions?

    And lashing? I guess that is fun for the sicko’s.

    Stay out of Sudan!

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