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

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

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 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs