Lawyers launch ap­peal for Sudan woman

The Church of England - - News -

LAWYERS for a Chris­tian woman sen­tenced to death for apostasy by a civil court in Khar­toum have filed an ap­peal seek­ing to over­turn her con­vic­tion.

On 11 May Me­riam Yahia Ibrahim, a 27-year-old mother of a 20-month-old child who is eight months preg­nant, was given three days to repu­di­ate her Chris­tian faith and be­come a Mus­lim. If she re­fused, she would be ex­e­cuted for apostasy.

Born to a Su­danese Mus­lim fa­ther and an Ethiopian Ortho­dox mother, Mrs Ibrahim was brought up as a Chris­tian af­ter her fa­ther aban­doned the fam­ily when she was six. How­ever, un­der Sharia law a child of a Mus­lim fa­ther is con­sid­ered a Mus­lim.

Mrs Ibrahim, who mar­ried a South Su­danese Chris­tian, was also con­victed of adul­tery and sen­tenced to re­ceive 100 lashes for the crime of mar­ry­ing a Chris­tian. Un­der the Shafi’i school of Is­lamic ju­rispru­dence fol­lowed in Sudan, apos­tates are di­vided into two cat­e­gories: parental and in­nate.

In­nate apos­tates were those whose par­ents were Mus­lim, made a pro­fes­sion of Is­lam — the Sha­hada - as an adult and then left the faith, while parental apos- tates were those born in non-Mus­lim fam­i­lies and con­verted to Is­lam as an adult, and then left the faith. Pun­ish­ment for an in­nate apos­tate is death un­der Su­danese law, while a parental apos­tate is given three days to re­cant their apostasy.

The case has prompted an in­ter­na­tional outcry with Western gov­ern­ments, NGOs and church lead­ers call­ing for her re­lease. Su­danese op­po­si­tion lead­ers have also de­nounced the de­ci­sion say­ing it vi­o­lates the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tional right to free­dom of re­li­gion.

Chris­tian Sol­i­dar­ity World­wide’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mervyn Thomas stated Mrs Ibrahim’s “con­tin­ued im­pris­on­ment vi­o­lates in­ter­na­tional statutes to which Sudan is a sig­na­tory as well as ar­ti­cle 38 of the coun­try’s in­terim con­sti­tu­tion, which guar­an­tees free­dom of re­li­gion or be­lief for all and in par­tic­u­lar states that ‘no per­son shall be co­erced to adopt such faith that he/she does not be­lieve in, nor to prac­tice rites or ser­vices to which he/she does not vol­un­tar­ily con­sent.’ CSW calls on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to hold Sudan to its in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions and to pro­vi­sions con­tained within its con­sti­tu­tion.”

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