news

8 months pregnant and she's going to die. Because of her religion.

 

UPDATE: 

Meriam Ibrahim walked out of prison in Khartoum yesterday and was taken to a safe house.

Her release was announced yesterday by Sudanese state media, which said that the Supreme Court had overturned the verdict and she was to be freed.

Meriam, who was condemned to death under Islamic sharia law on May 15 while she was pregnant, became the focus of worldwide media attention. The 27-year-old gave birth in May  in a women’s prison.

Her husband, US citizen, Daniel Wani, visited his wife and new child last week. He told the media both were in “good health”.

PREVIOUSLY:

Meriam Ibrahim, the 27-year-old Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death earlier this month for refusing to give up her religion, has given birth.

She gave birth to a healthy baby girl today, after spending  the past four months shackled to the floor in squalid jail, the Daily Mail reports.

“They didn’t even take Meriam to a hospital – she just delivered inside a prison clinic,” Her lawyer Elshareef Ali Elshareef Mohammed  told The Telegraph.
“But neither her husband nor I have been allowed to see them yet.”

Another member of Meriam’s legal team, Mohaned Mustafa Elnour, told the Daily Mail yesterday: ‘This is some good news in what has been a terrible ordeal for Meriam.

“I am planning to visit her with her husband Daniel later today. I think they are going to call the baby Maya.”

An appeal has been lodged against Meriam’s conviction, Amnesty International reported last week.

“The plight and the bravery of this young pregnant mother has clearly touched the world. More than 620,000 Amnesty International supporters have taken action to call for her immediate and unconditional release,” Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher said on 23 May.

“Since Meriam has been sentenced, we are deeply concerned at the conditions of her detention and use of cruel and inhuman forms of restraint,” he said.

“The Sudanese authorities must guarantee Meriam’s safety and release her immediately and unconditionally.”

Meriam’s son, 20-month-old Martin, has been with her inside the cell since she was first charged in February, The Telegraph reports.

Previously, Mamamia wrote…

Meriam and her husband Daniel on their wedding day.

She is eight months pregnant. 

She is mother to a 20-month-old baby.

She is a 27-year-old Christian woman married to the Christian man she loves.

And this morning, she was sentenced to death in a Sudanese court for refusing to convert to Islam, the religion of her estranged father.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was  convicted on charges of ‘apostasy’ — the abandonment of one’s religious faith — by a court in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Mothers’ Day.

She was also convicted of “adultery” — not because she had been unfaithful to her husband, but because her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan is considered void under Sharia law as practiced in the east African country.

Meriam, a doctor, was given three days to recant her faith or face a possible sentence of death.  But she refused to do so, having been raised by her mother as an Orthodox Christian after her Muslim father reportedly abandoned the pair when Meriam was six.

ADVERTISEMENT

In Meriam’s sentencing hearing the court criticised her for insisting on “not returning” to her father’s religion, AFP reports. “We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” the judge reportedly told the woman. The defendant replied: “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”  The court also sentenced her to 100 lashes for ‘adultery’.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and Daniel Wani on their wedding day.

Her husband, 30-year-old Daniel Wani, told CNN he feels completely helpless.

“I’m so frustrated. I don’t know what to do,” Mr Wani said on Thursday.

“I’m just praying.”

Amnesty International has condemned the decision as “apalling” and “truly abhorrent”.

“Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law,” said Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher Manar Idriss in a statement released this morning.”

“Meriam is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally,” he said.

“The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief.”

Foreign embassies in Sudan — which has a majority Muslim population and is one of the most difficult countries in the world to be a Christian, according to international religious freedom monitors — are urging the government to reverse course.

“We call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs, a right which is enshrined in international human rights law as well as in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution,” the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Netherlands said in a statement.

“We further urge Sudanese legal authorities to approach Ms. Meriam’s case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people,” they said.

Meriam was arrested and charged with adultery in August last year, when a family member reportedly claimed she was committing adultery because of her marriage to a Christian man. The court added the charge of apostasy in February, when Meriam asserted that she was a Christian and not a Muslim.

Meriam is eight months pregnant.

Since Meriam is pregnant, her flogging and death sentence will be administered after she has given birth in June.

In past cases involving pregnant women the Sudanese government waited until the mother weaned her child before executing any sentence, Christian Solidarity Worldwide spokeswoman Kiri Kankhwende told CNN.

Author’s note: This article deals with one extreme penalty imposed under Sharia law; we hope it goes without saying that the vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving people who would be appaled by this decision. Comments that incite hatred will not be published.

Donate to Amnesty International here to support their human rights work, or sign the Change.org petition calling for Meriam to be saved here.

00:00 / ???