This week a Khartoum court convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith. If she didn’t “recant”, she will be executed.
Ibrahim is a Christian. But the court considers her to be Muslim.
Her father (who left when she was six years old) was a Sudanese Muslim, but her mother is Ethiopian Orthodox, and brought her up as a Christian.
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, because her father was Muslim. The courts considered her to be the same.
She was given until Thursday to recant her Christian faith, but she has firmly declared: “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian.”
In the meantime, Ibrahim, who is eight months’ pregnant, remains in prison with her 20-month-old son, who is getting sick due to lack of hygiene.
Her pregnancy is not going smoothly, but a request to send her to a private hospital was denied “due to security measures.”
“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,” Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher, said in a statement.
“‘Adultery’ and ‘apostasy’ are acts which should not be considered crimes at all, let alone meet the international standard of ‘most serious crimes’ in relation to the death penalty. It is a flagrant breach of international human rights law,” the researcher said.
“We call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs, a right which is enshrined in international human rights law as well as in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution,” the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Netherlands said in a statement.
“We further urge Sudanese legal authorities to approach Ms. Meriam’s case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people,” it read.