17 May 2014

Pregnant Woman Sentenced to Death in Sudan

Sudanese Women
What is the religion that will go to great lengths in sentencing a pregnant woman for converting to another religion? can anybody hazard a guess?

If you're guess is Islam, then you are definitely right.

Known as the largest country in Africa and the Arab world until 2011, Sudan is in the news again today and not for the right reasons. The Sudanese high court has just sentenced a heavily pregnant woman to death by hanging for converting from Islam to Christianity.

For much of Sudan's history, the nation has suffered from rampant ethnic strife and has been plagued by internal conflicts including two civil wars and the War in the Darfur region. The country also suffers from poor human rights most particularly dealing with the issues of ethnic cleansing and slavery in the nation.

However, nobody was prepared that Sudan would be willing to also give Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag another 100 lashes aside from the death sentence and invalidate her marriage to a Christian man.

The renunciation of Islam in favor of another religious belief, formally known as apostasy, is illegal in Sudan where a majority Muslim population is governed by Islamic law.

"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death," the judge told Meriam, according to AFP.

The defendant replied: "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."

Ibrahim was charged after being reported to authorities last year by a member of her family because of her marriage to a Christian, according to her supporters. In February 2014, the court added a charge of apostasy based on her 2012 marriage in a Christian church and the fact that she insisted in court that she was Christian.

Her mother, an Orthodox Ethiopian Christian, married a Sudanese Muslim who was never at home as Ibrahim grew up, according to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, a network of 80 civil society women's organizations based in Khartoum.

Ibrahim, currently jailed with her son, will be allowed to give birth and raise her second child until the age of 2 years but then faces execution. Sudanese authorities refuse to allow Ibrahim's son to reside with her husband because the husband is Christian.

Amnesty International (AI) has already condemned the sentencing, saying that Meriam is currently heavily pregnant and should be released immediately.

"Amnesty International believes that Meriam is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally," said Manar Idriss, Amnesty's Sudan researcher.

Amnesty added that Meriam was raised an Orthodox Christian by her mother because her Muslim father was absent during her childhood.