By BosNewsLife Africa Service
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KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian mother in late term pregnancy faced imminent death in Sudan on Tuesday, May 13, after a court convicted her of “adultery” and “apostasy”, punishable by 100 lashes and execution respectively, BosNewsLife learned.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, was told by the El Haj Yousif Public Order Court in the capital Khartoum that she has until May 15 to convert to Islam, implying that her sentence could be annulled or reduced if she did so, trial observers said.
Ibrahim was sentenced Sunday, May 11, on Mother’s Day, after unsuccessfully appealing against the March 4 death sentence ruling by the same court.
The young woman was detained on February 17 this year when Sudanese authorities were made aware of her marriage to a Christian man, Christians said.
She is currently detained in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison along with her 20-month-old son, Daniel Wani. Ibrahim was charged with adultery under article 146 and ‘apostasy’, or leaving Islam, under article 126 of the Penal Code, according to rights investigators.
“The sentence handed down to Mrs Ibrahim is inhumane, unwarranted and unacceptable,” said Andy Dipper, chief operating officer of advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide. He argued that the detention was in violation of article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a statute that is binding on all member states of the United Nations.
The sentence comes months after the chairman of the influential Islamic Centre for Preaching and Comparative Studies, Ammar Saleh, accused Sudan’s government of negligence in addressing apostasy and said it should “stand against Christianisation and come up with a long term solution to the problem.”
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has repeatedly said that Sudan’s new constitution would be “100 percent Islamic” and wholly based on Shari’a law, or Islamic, law.
However the current interim constitution refers to Shari’a as a source of law and not as the basis of the constitution, meaning that the it “still provides for her right to freedom of religion or belief,” CSW argued.
Rights investigators say the sentence comes amid an increase in detentions, interrogation and deportations of Christians, as well as the confiscation and destruction of churches and church property, since December 2012.
Christians and rights groups have also reported massive been targeted attacks on non-Muslim communities in South Kordofan since 2011.
In one of the most recent incidents, on May 1 and May 2, Sudanese Army Forces (SAF) reportedly bombed the Mother of Mercy Hospital, which is run by the Catholic Church and is the only functioning hospital providing humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Nuba Mountains.
The European Union called the attacks a war crime. The Nuba are known to be one of the most tribally, religiously and linguistically diverse people of Sudan, CSW said.
(BosNewsLife (2004-2014) is the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians. It has been ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since May 2004).
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