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Sudan Denies Planning to Release Condemned Christian Woman

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 05:25 PM

Sudan on Monday denied it planned to release a woman facing death for refusing to recant her Christian faith and insisted that a court will decide her fate based on her legal appeal.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, will only be freed if the court overturns its apostasy verdict, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by Suna, the state-run news agency. It said an undersecretary at the ministry cited by media as saying Ibrahim would be freed within days was quoted out of context.

Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in prison last week, was sentenced to death by hanging on May 15 after refusing to recant her Christian faith in favor of Islam. The case has prompted an outcry from countries including the United States and Britain and human rights groups such as Amnesty International.

Her legal team lodged an appeal with the Sudanese court on May 22, saying the verdict contradicts Sudan’s 2005 constitution as well as international rights accords to which the country is signatory. Ibrahim “enjoyed all the necessary requirements for a fair trial as a constitutional right,” the Sudanese judiciary said May 18 in a statement published by Suna.

Ibrahim’s mother was an Ethiopian Christian and her father a Sudanese Muslim who left them when she was six years old, her husband Daniel Wani said in a May 21 phone interview from the capital, Khartoum. She was raised a Christian in Sudan and married Wani in 2011, shortly after the death of her mother, he said. Wani, an American citizen, has mostly lived in the UnitedStates since leaving Sudan.

Ibrahim was arrested in August after men who said they were from her father’s side of the family reportedly accused her of adultery, Amnesty said in a May 13 statement. Under Sudan’s interpretation of Islamic law, marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is illegal, with any such union considered adultery, the rights group said.

An apostasy charge was added in February when Ibrahim said she was Christian, not Muslim. In addition to the death sentence, the court annulled Ibrahim and Wani’s marriage and ordered she be lashed 100 times for adultery. Under Sudanese law, a pregnant woman cannot be executed until giving birth and raising the child for two years, according to Amnesty.

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Sudan on Monday denied it planned to release a woman facing death for refusing to recant her Christian faith and insisted that a court will decide her fate based on her legal appeal.
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2014-25-02
Monday, 02 Jun 2014 05:25 PM
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