Christian Hanging: Pregnant Woman in Sudan to Die for Renouncing Islam

Image: Christian Hanging: Pregnant Woman in Sudan to Die for Renouncing Islam A general view taken on May 15, 2014 shows St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral near the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:16 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A Sudanese court sentenced a pregnant Christian woman to death by hanging this week for allegedly renouncing Islam, and a judge also ordered her to be lashed for committing adultery by marrying a man outside her religion.

Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was convicted of apostasy Thursday after a judge determined that she abandoned Islam and broke Sharia law by marrying a Christian man. Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, failed to renounce her Christianity under the court's three-day deadline, which expired Thursday, according to USA Today.

Even though Ibrahim was raised by a single mother who is Orthodox Christian, the court still considers her a Muslim because that was her father's religion. Under Sudanese law, Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men.

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"Conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death, suspected converts to Christianity face societal pressures, and government security personnel intimidate and sometimes torture those suspected of conversion," the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its 2014 report.

The Christian hanging sentence brought about protest from Amnesty International.

"The decision of a Sudanese court to sentence a heavily pregnant Sudanese Christian woman to death by hanging for 'apostasy' and flogging for 'adultery' is truly abhorrent," the global rights organization said in a news release.

Manar Idriss, an Amnesty International Sudan researcher, said in the statement that Ibrahim's sentence is a violation of international law.

"The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent," Idriss wrote. "Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law."

Haram Othman, one of Ibrahim's attorneys, told CNN that they plan to appeal the decision within 15 days.

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