This weekend there were reports that Sudan would release the woman who was condemned to be hanged because she would not repudiate her Christianity. But now Sudan is denying those reports, saying that only a court ruling could release her. The woman, Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, whose husband is an American, had her baby in prison, where she is also caring for her 20-month-year-old son. She had her baby baptized.
Sudan’s foreign ministry denied published reports that a woman sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith is expected to be released.
Foreign ministry spokesman Abubakar Al-Sidiq said that he is not aware of any plans to release Mariam Yahya Ibrahim before a ruling from an appeals court.
Ibrahim was condemned to die by hanging after she declined to profess she is a Muslim, the religion of her father. Sharia law considers her a Muslim and does not recognize her marriage to a Christian. She is unlikely to change her mind despite giving birth in prison, says her husband Daniel Wani, who also is a Christian.
Some Western media outlets have reported that Ibrahim would be released in a few days, but her husband said that only the appeals court could free his wife.
“I’m not aware that any release is imminent,” Wani told CNN.
Technically, the president of Sudan cannot pardon her, so the judiciary might be the only way out for the government, which is coming under increased international pressure to release Ibrahim.
The court convicted her of apostasy and adultery two weeks ago. At the time, she was eight months pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl this week at a Khartoum prison, where she’s detained with Martin, her 20-month-old son.
Despite languishing in prison with two infants, she’s holding firm to her beliefs, according to her husband.
“There is pressure on her from Muslim religious leaders that she should return to the faith,” Wani told CNN in a TV exclusive. “She said, ‘How can I return when I never was a Muslim? Yes, my father was a Muslim, but I was brought up by my mother.’ ”
Wani said his wife is a practicing Christian, more so than him, and even had their son baptized.