Monday, June 23, 2014

Sudan announces release of Meriam Ibrahim from death row

A Christian woman on death row in a Sudanese prison has been released on the orders of a court in Khartoum after her case became the focus of an international campaign. Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and to be hanged for apostasy after refusing to renounce her faith last month. The Sudanese state news agency Suna said: "The appeal court ordered the release of [Ibrahim] and the cancellation of the [earlier] court ruling." However, there was no sign of Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani or their two children at the couple's home in Khartoum. Mohaned Mostafa, a member of Ibrahim's legal team, said she had been moved to a safehouse "for her protection and security". He told Reuters: "Her family had been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her." Judges have been hearing an appeal against Ibrahim's convictions for the past two weeks. Her lawyers argued that the case was based on weak, contradictory and inconsistent claims, and contravened Sudan's interim constitution. After being imprisoned with her toddler son, Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter while shackled to the floor of her cell. Wani, who has been permitted only brief visits to his family, said his wife and children were being held in inhumane conditions in Omdurman women's prison. Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy after the court insisted she was a Muslim because her father was a Muslim, even though Ibrahim said she had been brought up as a Christian after her father abandoned the family when she was six. Her 2011 marriage to Wani was declared invalid, resulting in her conviction for adultery. After her conviction, Ibrahim was given three days to renounce her faith or face a death sentence. The leaders of Britain's three main political parties backed a campaign to get Ibrahim released. David Cameron said he was "absolutely appalled" by the sentences. "The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today's world. Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right," the prime minister said. The US state department said it was "deeply disturbed" by the case and called on Khartoum to respect the right to freedom of religion. Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Jesse Jackson and the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, were among high-profile international figures calling for the sentence to be dropped.   Source (The Guardian) 


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