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Sudanese Woman Gets Death Sentence for Converting to Christianity

  • VOA News

FILE - Christian worshipers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.

FILE - Christian worshipers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.

A court in Sudan has sentenced a pregnant woman to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, who is already the mother to a 20-month-old son, was convicted of apostasy on Sunday and given four days to abandon her faith.

Judge Abbas al-Khalifa handed down the death sentence Thursday in Khartoum after Ibrahim told the court "I am a Christian."

Ibrahim, who was born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father, was raised Christian after the father left the family. However, under Sudanese law, children of Muslim fathers are considered Muslim.

Condemnation

Amnesty International quickly condemned the court's ruling, calling it "abhorrent" and a flagrant breach of international human rights law. The rights group called for Ibrahim's immediate and unconditional release.

The judge Thursday also sentenced Ibrahim to 100 lashes on charges of adultery. Under Sudanese law, marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is not permitted, and any such union is considered adultery.

Earlier this week, the U.S., British, Canadian and Dutch embassies expressed "deep concern" about the case, and called on Sudan's government to respect the right to religious freedom.

Sudan's 2005 constitution guarantees the right to freedom of worship. In practice, the government enforces a form of Islamic law.

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