Thursday, May 22, 2014

SUDAN: LAWYERS APPEAL MERIAM IBRAHIM'S DEATH SENTENCE

a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim's lawyers have lodged an appeal today against the Public Order Court's decision on 11 May to sentence Mrs Ibrahim to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery.

Mrs Ibrahim was charged and sentenced for adultery and 'apostasy' (leaving Islam) under articles 146 and 126 of Sudan's Penal Code respectively. The Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif Khartoum, Sudan, chaired by Judge Abbas Khalifa, confirmed the sentence on 15 May, after Mrs Ibrahim refused to renounce her faith.

The Christian mother, who is eight months pregnant, continues to be held at the Omdurman Federal Women's Prison along with her 20-month-old son, Martin Wani. After months of incarceration, Mrs Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani has recently been able to visit her and their son, but only when accompanied by her lawyers.

Mrs Ibrahim's case has prompted an international outcry. In a joint statement, UN human rights experts have also condemned the sentence, stating that it is the right of every individual to 'adopt, change or retain a religion of one's choice, and to manifest their religion in practice, observance and worship, as well as the right not to be subject to discrimination or coercion on religious grounds.'

Mrs Ibrahim was born in western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six years old and she was subsequently brought up as a Christian by her mother. The case against Mrs Ibrahim began after Sudanese authorities were made aware of her marriage to Daniel Wani, a Christian with dual American and Sudanese citizenship, Mrs Ibrahim testified before the court on 4 March that she is a life-long Christian, producing her marriage certificate, where she is classified as Christian, as evidence. Three potential witnesses from western Sudan who went to court to testify of Mrs Ibrahim's lifelong adherence to Christianity were prevented from giving evidence.

CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas says 'CSW continues to call upon the Sudanese authorities to annul the inhumane and unwarranted sentence given to Meriam Ibrahim. Furthermore, we call for immediate release of Mrs Ibrahim and her young son. Their 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.'

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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