Sudan woman sentenced to death for being Christian freed after court ruling

(Source: Gabriel Wani Facebook page)Meriam Ibrahim who was raised in a Christian family and with her husband Daniel Wani, a Sudanese biochemist who lives in the United States, photographed in a Khartoum chapel in 2011.

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, has been freed after a court ruling, the official news agency in the northeast African country said Monday.

"The appeal court ordered the release of Meriam Ibrahim and the cancellation of the [previous] court ruling," Sudan's SUNA news agency reported.

The case of Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Christian mother who gave birth to a child in jail and who was sentenced to death for not renouncing her faith, triggered international outrage and condemnation.

Her lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa said that Ibrahim had been sent "to an unknown house to stay at for her protection and security," Reuters news agency reported.

"Her family has been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her," he told Reuters.

Ibrahim was raised by a Christian mother although her father was a Muslim and she was brought up as a Christian.

A lower Sudan court convicted her of apostasy for marrying a Christian and the country's laws deem the conversion of Muslims to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

Another court in Khartoum had upheld her sentence after she refused to renounce her Christianity and the death sentence was to be imposed when her new-born girl is two-years-old. Before that she was to face 100 whip lashes as part of her punishment for being a Christian.

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, wrote to Sudan President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir to "prevent the implementation of this unjust and unconscionable sentence."

A petition calling Ibrahim's release by Amnesty International drew more than 900,000 signatures.


A group of United Nations human rights experts expressed alarm about the sentence and the European Union, the United States, global Christian leaders and human rights advocacy groups strongly condemned it.

The U.N. experts said on May 19 that trial of the mother who was pregnant at the time of her trial with her second child did not comply with basic fair trial and due process guarantees, said the experts.

"This outrageous conviction must be overturned and Ms. Ibrahim must be immediately released," urged the U.N. experts. They also called on the Sudanese government to repeal all legislation that discriminates on the grounds of gender or religion.

"Choosing and/or changing one's religion is not a crime at all; on the contrary, it is a basic human right," said the experts.

They said Sudan should include the protection of the religious identity of minority groups and they urged mainly-Muslim northeast African country to comprehensively its justice system in compliance with international standards.

"Mrs Ibrahim was born in western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six years old and she was subsequently brought up as a Christian by her mother.

"The case against Mrs Ibrahim began after Sudanese authorities were made aware of her marriage to Daniel Wani, a Christian with dual American and Sudanese citizenship," Christianity Solidarity Worldwide reported.

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