Pregnant Christian mother in Sudan sentenced to death for “apostasy”

Details from The Tablet:

A pregnant Christian mother was sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery by a court in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Sunday.

The ecumenical religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) described Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s sentence by the Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif as “inhumane, unwarranted and unacceptable”.

The court informed Mrs Ibrahim, 27, she had until 15 May to convert to Islam, implying that her sentence could be annulled or reduced if she did so.

Mrs Ibrahim was born in Western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six and she was subsequently brought up Christian by her mother.

Under Shari’a law in Sudan, Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men. Since Mrs Ibrahim’s father was a Muslim, she is considered to be a Muslim, rendering her marriage to Daniel Wani invalid.

Since South Sudan seceded in 2011, Christians living in the north have either travelled to the south or faced increasing restrictions and threats. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he wants a 100 per cent Islamic constitution. CSW said Mrs Ibrahim’s sentence marked “the latest and most significant in a series of repressive acts by the Sudanese Government against religious minorities”.

Mrs Ibrahim was arrested on 17 February, after Sudanese authorities were made aware of her marriage to a Christian man. The agency said she is being held in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison along with her 20-month-old son. She is charged with adultery under article 146 and apostasy under article 126 of the Penal Code, CSW said.

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