A pregnant Sudanese doctor has been sentenced to death after refusing to recant her Christian faith.
Meriam Ibrahim Ishag was born to a Muslim father but married a Christian man in 2011.
The 26-year-old, who is eight months pregnant and has an 18-month-old son, was convicted of apostasy – or renouncing her faith – by a court in Khartoum.
‘We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,’ Judge Abbas al-Khalifa told her.
He also ordered her to be given 100 lashes. Earlier in the hearing, she calmly told the judge: ‘I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.’
The sentence will not be carried out until her unborn child is at least two years old.
Fifty people demonstrated against the sentences and her lawyers will appeal.
More on this from the BBC:
Dr Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was condemned to hang for allegedly leaving Islam and marrying a Christian man.
The court said that by doing so, she had abandoned her religious faith and was guilty of apostasy, which carries the ultimate penalty under Islamic law in the country.
But some liberal religious scholars have argued apostasy is not even a crime.
They back up their beliefs by citing the Koranic verse which states: “There shall be no compulsion in religion.”
Other more conservative Muslims refer to the words of the Prophet Muhammad in the Hadith saying: “It is not permissible to spill the blood of a Muslim except in three [instances]: A life for a life; a married person who commits adultery; and one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community.”
Islam’s legal system – Sharia – says apostasy covers a wide range of offences, including conversion to another religion, idol worship, or mistreating the Koran.
While some scholars favour the death penalty, others say the punishment should be left to God on the day of judgement.
UPDATE: From CNN…
Hours after a Sudanese court sentenced his pregnant wife to death when she refused to recant her Christian faith, her husband told CNN he feels helpless.
“I’m so frustrated. I don’t know what to do,” Daniel Wani told CNN on Thursday. “I’m just praying.”
This week a Khartoum court convicted his wife, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith.
Ibrahim is Christian, her husband said. But the court considers her to be Muslim.
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.
The court gave her until Thursday to recant her Christian faith – something she refused to do, according to her lawyer.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, a sheikh told the court “how dangerous a crime like this is to Islam and the Islamic community,” said attorney Mohamed Jar Elnabi, who’s representing Ibrahim.
“I am a Christian,” Ibrahim fired back, “and I will remain a Christian.”