Preganant woman sentenced to death by the “religion of peace” for refusing to convert, finally freed
A Sudanese appeal court freed Meriam Yehia Ibrahim and canceled the death sentence she received after refusing to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said.
Ibrahim, 27, was released from jail Monday and is now with her husband, Daniel Wani, one of her lawyers, Elshareef Ali, said by phone from the capital, Khartoum.
Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging by a Sudanese court last month in a case that sparked condemnation from governments including the U.S. and U.K. as well as rights groups such as Amnesty International. Sudan’s government said it wouldn’t interfere in the decisions of the judiciary.
“This is a victory the Sudanese constitution and for freedom of faith in Sudan,” Ali said. “The court canceled all the decisions taken against her, including annulling the marriage and the adultery conviction. She is now free to go anywhere.”
Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, which is punishable by death. Muslim women in Sudan are further prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, although Muslim men are permitted to marry outside their faith. Children, by law, must follow their father’s religion.
“I was never a Muslim,” Ibrahim told the Sudanese high court. “I was raised a Christian from the start.”
Ibrahim says her mother was an Ethiopian Christian and her father a Muslim who abandoned the family when she was a child. Ibrahim was initially charged with having illegitimate sex last year, but she remained free pending trial. She was later charged with apostasy and jailed in February after she declared in court that Christianity was the only religion she knew.