ICC calls on government of Sudan to release Christian mother on death row

May 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pregnant Mother Faces Execution Next Month
Following Birth of Second Child

sudan persecutionWashington DC, May 02, 2014: This morning, International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington D.C. based non-profit that assists religious minorities facing discrimination for their faith, called upon the government of Sudan to release a pregnant Christian mother facing execution on charges of adultery and apostasy.

ICC has learned a Christian mother, pregnant with her second child, has been arbitrarily detained, charged with adultery and apostasy by a Sudanese Public Order Court, and sentenced to death. A local human rights organization has come to her defense, but fears that, without significant public pressure on the government of Sudan, the accused will be put to death following the birth of her second child, expected next month.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, age 27, was raised an Orthodox Christian in a small town located in Western Sudan. A graduate of Khartoum University, Ibrahim was a practicing MD when she married her husband, South Sudanese Christian, Daniel Wani. Sometime after discovering her relationship with Wani, a relative of Ibrahim’s reported her marriage to police responsible for maintaining Sudan’s Public Order Criminal Code. Born in Sudan, Ibrahim is considered a Muslim by default, making her marriage to Wani, a non-Muslim, illegal in the eyes of Sudan’s Public Order Criminal Code.

Ibrahim was arrested by Sudanese authorities and detained with her 20-month-old son Wani in the Omdurman women’s prison on February 17 before being charged with a crime or receiving a fair trial. On March 4, Ibrahim was brought before the El Haj Yousif Public Order Court in Khartoum and charged with adultery and apostasy, punishable by 100 lashes and death respectively. With the Justice Center Sudan’s Mohand Mustafa serving as Ibrahim’s defense lawyer, a hearing has been scheduled for May 11 to hear witnesses’ testimony that Ibrahim has never practiced Islam and therefore cannot legally be held accountable to Sudan’s 1991 Public Order Law.

Found guilty of “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief” according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Sudan’s government, led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, imposes “a restrictive interpretation of Shari’ah law on Muslims and non-Muslims alike, using amputations and floggings for crimes and acts of ‘indecency’ and ‘immorality’ and arresting Christians for proselytizing.”

Isaac Six, International Christian Concern’s Advocacy Manager, said, “The latest detention and threatened execution of a Christian, a child-bearing mother no less, for the profession of her faith in Sudan exhibits an ongoing need for the U.S., the international community, and religious freedom advocates to pressure Sudan to uphold its international commitments as a member of the United Nations to recognize and protect every individual’s right to the free practice of their religion. ICC is not only contacting the Sudanese government directly about this egregious case, but is also calling upon our global network of supporters to call their local Sudanese embassy to demand Meriam be released immediately.

– icc

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