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Pregnant Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy

Bishkek (AKIpress) - A pregnant Sudanese woman who married a Christian man was sentenced to death Thursday after she refused to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said.

Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of "apostasy" on Sunday and given four days to repent and escape death, lawyer Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed said.

The 27 year old, who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced after that grace period expired, Mohammed said.

Amnesty International immediately condemned the sentence, calling it "abhorrent." Mohammed called the conviction rushed and legally flawed since the judge refused to hear key defense witnesses and ignored constitutional provisions on freedom of worship and equality among citizens.

Ibrahim and Wani married in a formal church ceremony in 2011 and have a son, 18-month-old Martin, who is with her in jail. The couple runs a farm south of Khartoum. Sudan's penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims into other religions, which is punishable by death.

Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father's religion, the FoxNews said.

Amnesty called the sentence a "flagrant breach of international human rights law." "The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered," Amnesty said in a statement, quoting its Sudan researcher, Manar Idriss.

The US government said it is “deeply disturbed” by the sentence, according to the Sudan Tribune. In a brief statement issued from Washington on Thursday, deputy department spokesperson Marie Harf said it understood the court sentence can be appealed and urged Sudanese authorities to show compassion.

“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,” said Harf.

“We call on the Sudanese legal authorities to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people,” she added.


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