A PREGNANT Sudanese woman who married a Christian man has been sentenced to death after she refused to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said.
Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of “apostasy” on Sunday and given four days to repent and escape death, said lawyer Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed.
The 26 year old, who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced after that grace period expired, Mohammed said.
The court in the capital, Khartoum, also ordered that Ibrahim be given 100 lashes for having what it considers sexual relations with her husband, Daniel Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan who has U.S. citizenship.
Amnesty International immediately condemned the sentence, calling it “abhorrent.” The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply disturbed” by the sentencing and called on the government to respect the right to freedom of religion.
Mohammed, the lawyer, called the conviction rushed and legally flawed since the judge refused to hear key defence witnesses and ignored constitutional provisions on freedom of worship and equality among citizens.
Ibrahim and Wani married in a formal church ceremony in 2011 and have a son, 18-month-old Martin, who is with her in jail. The couple runs several businesses, including a farm, south of Khartoum.
Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims into other religions, which is punishable by death.
As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father’s religion.
A number of Sudanese have been convicted of apostasy in recent years, but they all escaped execution by recanting their new faith. Religious thinker and politician Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, a critic of Nimeiri and his interpretation of Shariah, was sentenced to death after his conviction of apostasy. He was executed in 1985 at the age of 76.