Australia is urging Sudanese authorities to stop the execution of a Christian woman found guilty of converting from Islam.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to death on May 15 under the Islamic sharia law that has been in place since 1983 and outlaws conversions under pain of death.
She is appealing her case.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia is standing with the international community in urging Sudan to stop the execution and save the 27-year-old, who gave birth to a baby girl in prison this week.
“Freedom of religion or belief is a core human right, and that this freedom must be respected in all countries in accordance with international human rights law,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.
Sudan’s foreign ministry on Sunday repudiated a pledge the government would order the release of Meriam Ibrahim, warning only the country’s courts could order her freedom.
Ms Ibrahim’s father was a Muslim, but she was raised as a Christian by her Christian mother, and says that she has not committed apostasy because she was never a Muslim.
Judges in Sudan’s strict courts system disagreed. Ms Ibrahim was found guilty of abandoning Islam and of adultery with a Christian man and sentenced to 100 lashes and death.
Ms Ibrahim testified that she was raised as a Christian after her father abandoned the family when she was young.
She produced a marriage certificate as evidence that she had not committed adultery, and called three witnesses from her eastern Sudanese home town to testify of her lifelong adherence to Christianity.
But she was found guilty of apostasy on May 11, and given four days to convert to Islam. When she refused, she was sentenced to hang – although the judge ruled that it should not be carried out until two years after she had given birth.