A Sudanese woman on death row for apostasy had her sentence canceled and was ordered released by a Khartoum court on Monday, the country’s official news agency reported.
SUNA said the Court of Cassation canceled the death sentence against 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim after defense lawyers presented their case. The court ordered her release.
Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian. Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, a crime punishable by death.
Ibrahim married a Christian man from southern Sudan in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith.
Ibrahim has a son, 18-month-old Martin, who was living with her in jail, where she gave birth to a second child last month, local media reported. By law, children must follow their father’s religion.
The sentence drew international condemnation, with Amnesty International calling it “abhorrent.” The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply disturbed” by the sentence and called on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.
UPDATE: It’s confirmed that she is now free. From CNS:
The lawyer said she was taken to a safe house; she had given birth to a daughter in late May and her 1-year-old son also had been in prison with her.
Ibrahim joined the Catholic Church shortly before she married U.S. citizen Daniel Bicensio Wani in December 2011, said a mid-June statement signed by Father Mussa Timothy Kacho, episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese of Khartoum, which had urged the courts to review her case. In mid-May, she was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death by hanging. Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, which is punishable by death.
Wani, who lives in New Hampshire, was refused custody of their son because, under Sudanese law, a Christian man cannot raise a Muslim child.