News / Africa

Sudan Urged Not to Execute Christian Woman

A Sudanese judge sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies for respect for religious freedom. A view of St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral near Khartoum, May 15, 2014.
A Sudanese judge sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies for respect for religious freedom. A view of St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral near Khartoum, May 15, 2014.
VOA News
U.N. rights experts and Britain on Monday spoke out against a Sudanese court order to hang a pregnant Christian woman for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her faith.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted last week under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and makes conversions of faith punishable by death.

"This outrageous conviction must be overturned and Ms. Ibrahim must be immediately released," insisted the U.N. experts on a range of issues, including the human rights situation in Sudan, violence against women, minorities and the freedom of religion or belief.

They stressed in a statement that under international law, "the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes, if at all," AFP reported.

"Choosing and/or changing one's religion is not a crime at all. On the contrary, it is a basic human right," the experts said.

Sudanese diplomat summoned

Britain summoned the Sudanese charge d'affaires on Monday to protest the death sentence.

Britain's foreign office said the sentence was barbaric and asked Sudanese Charge d'Affaires Bukhari Afandi to urge his government to uphold its international obligations on freedom of religion or belief and do all it can to overturn this decision.

The young mother was found guilty of apostasy, or publicly renouncing Islam -- a faith she never professed -- and sentenced to hang after she refused to "return" to the Muslim religion.

Ishag, who was born to a Christian mother and Muslim father, was also sentenced to 100 lashes for "adultery," for living with the Christian man she has been married to since 2012.

Under Sudan's interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

The U.N. experts said that the right to marry and found a family was a fundamental human right, and voiced particular concern that Ishag was being held with her 20-month-old son in "harsh conditions" at the Omdurman's Women Prison near Khartoum.

"The imposition and enforcement of the death penalty on pregnant women or recent mothers is inherently cruel and leads to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," they warned.

The U.N. experts called on Sudan to repeal all discriminatory laws, adding there was a "pressing need to address the pattern of discrimination, abuse and torture as well as the subjugation and denigration of women in the country."

Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, is a Christian. He said in an interview with VOA last week that police prevented him from attending his wife's final appeal but that he will continue to fight for her life.

Death sentence may not be final

Sudan’s information minister, Ahmed Bilal, said last week 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.

Sudan has an Islamist government but, other than floggings, extreme sharia law punishments have been rare.

If the death sentence is carried out, Ishag will be the first person executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British-based campaign group, said last week.

VOA's May Abdelnasir contributed to this report. Some information provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: John Love from: Virginia
June 06, 2014 8:52 PM
I know that this request will seem outrageous to many; nevertheless, I assure you
that it is real and that I am serious.

My name is John Love. I am a retired USAF Major, including service in Vietnam.

My birth date is 8/24/1940.

I am single since my bride of 52 years passed away on 12/27/2012. No one is
physically dependent on me.

Therefore, I am VERY WILLING to substitute for Meriam Ibrahim. Mrs. Ibrahim will not renounce her Christian Faith and neither will I. She would be returned intact to her family who could flee Africa and be granted permanent asylum in another country. I would then stand in Sudan in her place.

I have been in contact with the State Department, in particular with the African
Desk and the Sudanese Ambassador.

I have many failings; however, lying is NOT one of them.

John Love

Arlington, VA

jolove3@me.com

by: catherine mclean from: scotland
May 27, 2014 3:00 PM
right not might is what is important here. Women throughout the world should rally behind this innocent woman and offer her every support possible. The government of this country should examine its own morals before trying to condemn Miriam for what is not a crime. Women of the world defend her and may Mary save her.

by: Roxanne from: Maryland
May 26, 2014 2:18 PM
My thoughts and prayers are continually about this beautiful lady and her 20 month old baby and the one she is carrying !

by: CASSANDRA from: anguilla
May 22, 2014 7:54 AM
Please do not hang this young lady over her own rights

by: sandra browne from: jamaica
May 22, 2014 7:51 AM
O my GOD, where are u GOD. I'm really really heart broken over this pregnant woman sentence to be hang over her own rights. Are we not obligated to choose our own religion. I dont believe that she is to be hang because she is a christian religion. I cry so much over this situation & i not even know the woman
Help her heavenly father

by: Stefan Jordan from: Eureka, Ca
May 22, 2014 1:55 AM
Miriam, you are in our prayers. My wife is also 8 mo pregnant, and what is happening to you wrenches on my heart. I pray also for wise and godly world leaders to voice their beliefs and oppose ungodly, oppressive rulers who allow such things as this to happen.

by: Sebastian from: Ontario
May 21, 2014 3:26 PM
It's about time we open our eyes and realize that Muslims not only do not tolerate Christians but they persecute us in the most barbaric ways possible. Why are we so tolerant to them in North America? And why, are Muslim leaders around the world doing squat to prevent these atrocities ???

by: Emily from: South Africa
May 21, 2014 3:07 AM
The Lord said " I will never leave you , nor will I forsake you." Amen, indeed JESUS will not leave his daughter, I pray that my Lord will have mercy on all those that persecute his daughter.

by: Darko from: California
May 21, 2014 1:13 AM
There is a document signed by prophet Muhammad that proves that this women is Innocent.

No Islamic court can overrule this document and it should be sufficient to protect this women and her right and freedom of faith

Here is translation

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

This document is sufficient protection for her.

Here is more details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achtiname_of_Muhammad

by: cecili from: california
May 19, 2014 5:00 PM
Hopefully she gets rescued enough with theviolence of women
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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More