The 27-year-old Christian woman from Sudan convicted on charges of adultery and apostasy was sentenced to death for not renouncing her faith. She was given until today to abandon her faith and return to Islam. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim is eight months pregnant with her second child and she is in detention with her 20-month-old son.
Addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa sentenced the woman to be hanged to death and to 100 lashes for “adultery”. According to Amnesty International she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her Muslim father was absent during her childhood. Mariam was arrested in August 2013 after a family member accused her of adultery for marrying a Christian South Sudanese husband. Under Shari’a law practiced in Sudan, her marriage with a Christian is considered void, as it is not permitted. The charge of apostasy was added by the court in February this year when she said she is a Christian, not a Muslim.
Her case, the first of its kind to be heard in Sudan, prompted Western officials and Sudanese activists to condemn what they say it is human rights abuse and to call on the Sudanese government to respect freedom of faith. Amnesty International called her death sentence “truly abhorrent” in a statement released today. “The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent. Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law,” said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher.
Sources: Agencies, Amnesty International