#AceNewsServices – SUDAN – May 27 – A Sudanese woman awaiting the death penalty for abandoning her religious faith has given birth in jail near the capital, Khartoum, her lawyer has said.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag married a Christian man and was sentenced to hang for apostasy earlier this month after refusing to renounce Christianity.
She is allowed to nurse her baby girl for two years before the sentence is carried out.
Born to a Muslim father, she was convicted by a Sharia court.
Sudan has a majority Muslim population, which is governed by Islamic law.
Ms Ibrahim was also convicted of adultery on the grounds that her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan was void under Sudan’s version of Islamic law, which says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims.
For this the judge sentenced her to 100 lashes, which will reportedly be carried out when she has recovered from giving birth.
Ms Ibrahim was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood.
Amnesty International Reported:
That she was arrested and charged with adultery in August 2013, and the court added the charge of apostasy in February 2014 when she said she was a Christian and not a Muslim.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year- old Christian Sudanese woman, eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted of ‘adultery’ and ‘apostasy’ by a court in Khartoum on 11 May. Meriam has been given three days by the court to recant her faith.
Her next hearing will be held on 15 May, when she is likely to be sentenced to flogging and death.
Treating adultery and apostasy as criminal offences is not consistent with international human rights law – including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which Sudan is a state party. The criminalization of adultery violates the rights to freedom of expression and association and invariably discriminates against women in its enforcement.
The criminalization of apostasy is incompatible with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Meriam Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Meriam was arrested and charged with adultery in August 2013 after a family member reportedly claimed that she was committing adultery because of her marriage to a Christian South Sudanese man.
Under Shari’a law as practised in Sudan, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, and any such marriage is considered adultery.
The court added the charge of apostasy in February 2014 when Meriam asserted that she was a Christian and not a Muslim. According to Meriam, she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was absent during her childhood.
Meriam risks being sentenced to up to 100 lashes for adultery under Article 146.
If she refuses to recant her Christian faith, she risks the death penalty for apostasy under Article 126 of the Sudan Criminal Code.
The punishment of flogging violates the absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment in international human rights law.
Amnesty International considers the death penalty to be the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life and opposes its use in all cases and without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime.
Reuters – AP – AFP – Amnesty International