Giving birth to a girl on Tuesday, woman convicted of apostasy may see reversal in case.
The BBC has reported that Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced by a court in Sudan to hang for allegedly abandoning Islam for Christianity, will be freed.
“Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman,” according to the BBC report.
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, gave birth in prison this past Wednesday—while shackled to the floor.
A Sudanese judge ruled earlier this year that Ibrahim should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father’s faith. She has repeatedly refused to recant her Christian faith, saying that her Muslim father left the family when she was young and that she was brought up as an Orthodox Christian.
This week the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that a representative from neighboring South Sudan, which seceded from the north in 2011, had approached the government in Khartoum and offered to mediate – because Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, was born in the South.
“The authorities have expressed readiness to examine the case and see how it could be handled with mutual respect,” said Charles Manyang, undersecretary for South Sudan’s foreign affairs ministry. “The response we got was positive,” he told The Sudan Tribune.
Wani, 27, a biochemist who lives in New Hampshire, is now a U.S. citizen.
A Middle East correspondent for the Telegraph, Rob Crilly, points out that it might not be Islamic law or Islamic governments that are to blame for such situations as much as individuals who seek to apply the laws for their own ends. Crilly says there have been other examples of this going on in nations governed by Sharia.
“In Pakistan, my home now, the same thing happens all the time, without the common sense ending. Shout blasphemy and no one dares investigate too closely,” he writes. “Property dispute? Daughter married without your permission? Simply accuse your neighbour of defaming the Prophet and said neighbour will quickly disappear – either into prison or into a baying mob.
“That is exactly what happened to Meriam,” Crilly writes. “A half-brother apparently furious that she had gone her own way, choosing her own husband and planning to emigrate to America, was simply not going to allow it.”
He predicts Ibrahim will be pardoned on appeal.