Meriam Ibrahim to be freed
Breaking news 01/06/2014
A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for abandoning the Islamic faith is to be freed
Thank you to all who have been praying for her and her family. Read the previous article here
The BBC has reported that Abdullahi Alazreg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, announced the decision to free Meriam Ibrahim, saying that Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman
Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to her second child while in custody after a Sudanese court charged her with apostasy
Ms Ibrahim, 27, was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, after her Muslim father abandoned her family when she was six years-old. However, a Sudanese judge ruled earlier this month that she should be regarded as a Muslim because that was the faith of her father
The court also refused to recognise her marriage to Daniel Wani, a Christian Sudanese man with U.S. citizenship and sentenced her to 100 lashes for adultery because the union was not considered valid under Islamic law
Ms Ibrahim, who was pregnant at the time, refused to renounce her Christianity and was sentenced to death
On Wednesday, after she gave birth to her daughter named Maya in her prison cell, the court said Ms Ibrahim would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the death sentence was carried out
Her husband Daniel Wani had said that his wife is prepared to die but would not give up her Christian faith. She told him: "I refuse to change. I am not giving up Christianity just so that I can live. If they want to execute me then they should go ahead and do it because I'm not going to change my faith. I know I could stay alive by becoming a Muslim and I would be able to look after our family, but I need to be true to myself"
Sudanese authorities claim that Ms Ibrahim will be released in a matter of days however, Ms Ibrahim's lawyers said they do not believe the offer is genuine, and is merely a ploy to silence the public outcry
Elshareef Ali Mohammed, one of her legal team, told the Telegraph: "It's to silence the international media. This is what the government do. "Sudan must not allow the execution of Meriam Ibrahim to go ahead
The sudden u-turn comes after Khartoum faced international condemnation over the death sentence, with David Cameron, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury all calling for the sentence to be dropped
Cameron described the sentence as "barbaric"' and said it has "no place in today's world"
Former PM Tony Blair described the case as a "brutal and sickening distortion of faith"
Issuing a statement Hillary Clinton said: "Meriam Ibrahim's death sentence is abhorrent. Sudan should stop threatening religious freedom and fundamental human rights"
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "I wholeheartedly endorse this call for the death sentence to be dropped"
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty UK, said:"The way Meriam has been treated has appalled the world. Millions of people across the world are outraged by her treatment. Condemned to death, separated from her husband and now with two infant children imprisoned with her – it's the stuff of nightmares"
Human Rights Watch said the case was "like an incident out of the Dark Ages"
Mia Farrow urged her 490,000 Twitter followers to call the Sudanese embassies in the U.S. and the UK. She said that embassy staff 'will brush you off but the calls are counted. Bombard them with phone calls'
Farrow wrote: 'Meriam Ibrahim must not be flogged & hanged for refusing to renounce Christianity'
In a further statement she added: "Meriam Ibrahim has committed no crime and what is being done to her is beyond abhorrent. We call on the Sudanese government to halt this terrible treatment of Meriam, Martin and Maya and to release them immediately. We urge the US government to help this family so that they can be reunited"
In the UK Justine Greening, the UK international development minister, tweeted: "Sudan must not allow the execution of Meriam Ibrahim to go ahead. #SaveMeriam'
The UK Foreign Office has also summoned the Sudanese charge d'affaires to voice its anger over the sentence
The UK Foreign Office this week said that it would push for Ms Ibrahim to be released on humanitarian grounds
Amnesty International has also launched a petition seeking her release, while over 600,000 have signed a separate petition on change.org