News / Africa

    Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Hang for Refusing to Renounce Christianity

    Christian worshippers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
    Christian worshippers 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 Monday and given three days to abandon her faith.

    Her lawyer, Mohamed Abdel Nabi, said the judge hearing the case asked her, "Where do you stand on being an apostate?"

    "She answered, 'I’m not an apostate, your honor; because I was never a Muslim. I grew up a Christian.’ Then the judge announced, ‘you are sentenced to death by hanging,'" Nabi told South Sudan in Focus.

    Mariam's husband, who is from South Sudan and holds a U.S. passport, confirmed that his wife was raised a Christian.

    "She is from Darfur in western Sudan," Daniel Wani said.

    "Her mother is from Ethiopia and she grew up with her mother. That's why she is a Christian, since she was young, you know,” he said.

    Wani said he was prevented by the authorities from attending his wife’s appeal hearing but said he will continue to fight to save her life.
     

    Death sentence not final


    Sudan’s information minister, Ahmed Bilal, said that the the death sentence against Mariam was not final. 

    Even Sudan's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, was opposed to the harsh sentence against the young woman, Bilal said.

    According to Bilal, Grand Mufti Isam Ahmed Elbashir said Mariam should have been given more time to decide whether or not she wanted to convert to Islam.

    The U.S. State Department said it was  "deeply disturbed" by the sentence of death by hanging imposed on Mariam but understood that the sentence was open to appeal.

    "We continue to call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, a right which is enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution as well as international human rights law," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statment.

    Several embassies in Khartoum have also voiced concern over the harsh sentence against the young woman, who has also been sentenced to be flogged for adultery.

    The Sudanese authorities insist that Mariam is Muslim, because her father is Muslim. Sudanese law prohibits marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, and Mariam's husband is Christian.

    Amnesty International called the ruling "abhorrent" and a flagrant breach of international human rights law.  The rights group called for Mariam's immediate and unconditional release.

     
    Nabeel Biajo contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Ron from: florida usa
    May 30, 2014 12:02 PM
    God in his 10 commandments mandated that "Thou shalt not kill".
    As a Christian should I support killing Muslims if they refuse to convert to Christianity? Not at all, no way!! God may very well not forgive anyone that kills in his name.

    by: What about Gods Love
    May 20, 2014 10:51 AM
    what kind of God would want someone especially a woman with child beaten for their faith, they are sadly deceived, and will face God's judgment themselves he is a loving God we all have a right to choose.

    by: Mercy from: U.S.
    May 17, 2014 11:06 AM
    Please respect human life more than your religion. If you are a father, and a husband you love to be with your family. Please let the father be with his son.
    My prayers to the family at difficult time.

    by: lorraine
    May 16, 2014 6:14 AM
    who do these stupid little ignorant men in court in this god forsaken country ( you don't see any women in picture here allowed to contribute to decisions) think they are. what gives them the right to such decisions to condemn women like they do. Thank God we are who we are by the nature of birth and we weren't born under the rule of ignorant authorities in Sudan.

    What makes these people who they are - is there anything more cruel than the words of an indistinct little man lacking worldly knowledge sentencing a woman to death. Is this little man married with children. How does he treat his wife and disturbingly if there are (and god forbid if there are) offspring of the condemned gender. From Adam and Eve - how did human beings like this little judge get a place on this planet


    by: Dwelling Glory from: London
    May 16, 2014 2:41 AM
    I mean this total delusion! This is pure evil and really pure Evil! And the funny thing these Muslim ppl want to force us to accept their in our countries but yet they persecute and kill Christians in their countries. I mean I really do not understand this religion.

    by: Roy Riddle from: Topeka KS
    May 15, 2014 10:18 PM
    This is not the face of the Muslim faith. This is not a religious issue. This is a human issue. Every man, woman and child has the capacity to exude love, compassion and mercy. Every man, woman and child has the capacity for selfishness, bitterness and hatred. Choosing either set of values can be culturally defined. But, not always. Cultures are dynamic. Values are dynamic. The struggles the world faces today are the same struggles that have played out since the history of man. Until the world of men changes to allow a universal brotherhood which values selflisness, compassion and love, nation will rise against nation. Until the heart of man is no longer conflicted, there will be human atrocity. When you and I come to a place where we recognize a self evident truth, that all men are created equal, we change the culture. We change the world regardless of religious or national faith.
    In Response

    by: craig
    May 16, 2014 2:30 PM
    "This is not the face of the Muslim faith. This is not a religious issue."

    Assertion does not make it so. The judges openly state that this is a religious issue, and their knowledge of the Muslim faith, the societal context, and this case are all greater than yours. I am tired of decadent utopian Westerners repeatedly trying to lull us with 'oh no, the Islamists don't really mean all that'.

    "When you and I come to a place where we recognize a self evident truth, that all men are created equal, we change the culture.

    But it's *not* a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Jefferson took liberties in writing that in the Declaration, because empirical observation will tell you that men are unequal in all sorts of ways. Most of us are not Einstein, Usain Bolt, Yo-Yo Ma, or Mother Teresa. The claim that men are created equal only makes sense as a relative claim, that we all possess the same standing relative to a creator that has revealed this equality. In other words, it is a specifically Christian doctrine, given by revelation and not attainable through reason.

    We don't see that because we live off the residue of Christian civilization and don't know it any more than fish know they're in water. Without a belief in God, the claim that all men are created equal is not an 'is' but an 'ought' -- not a statement of fact, but a moral sentiment with nothing solid shoring it up.

    by: Apophis from: Indiana
    May 15, 2014 9:02 PM
    Just one more reason why all religion needs to be banned. Keep your spirituality...lose religion. Religion is evil.

    by: Rod Cullins
    May 15, 2014 8:44 PM
    I don't care what anyone says: THIS is the face of Islam. Fact.

    by: robotgiskard from: San Francisco
    May 15, 2014 8:41 PM
    There is a huge difference between Islam and Christianity: one demands obedience and the other allows choice.

    by: Unlicensed Dremel from: USA
    May 15, 2014 8:36 PM
    Religion of peace strikes again!
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora