Loading
Christian woman in shackles after 'apostasy' death sentence
Meriam Ibrahim (R) is pictured in this undated image with her husband Daniel Wani.
Meriam Ibrahim (R) is pictured in this undated image with her husband Daniel Wani.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Protest is mounting in the case of a pregnant Christian woman who faces a death sentence in Sudan for not renouncing her faith, as her husband recently found her shackled to the wall of her cell.

U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) wrote a May 16 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking that he give “full attention to the outrageous Sudanese court ruling that sentenced Meriam Yaha Ibrahim Ishag to death by hanging for her religious beliefs.”

They urged “full diplomatic engagement” to secure the release of her and her son and to offer her political asylum.

Daniel Wani, a Christian and U.S. citizen, was not able to visit his wife Meriam until this week, according to Tina Ramirez, executive director of the U.S.-based religious freedom group Hardwired.

“Once he was able to, she was shackled and her legs were swollen,” Ramirez told Fox News.

Ibrahim, 26, is eight months pregnant. She is imprisoned with her 18-month-old son in a Sudanese jail after a May 15 court ruling convicted her of apostasy from Islam and adultery.

She is recognized as Muslim under Sudanese law because her father was Muslim. However, she was raised as a Christian by her Ethiopian Orthodox mother after her father abandoned the family. She was convicted of adultery because the law does not recognize marriages between Muslim women and Christian men.

Ibrahim rejected the charges and refused to renounce her faith, telling the court, “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”

According to reports, members of her father’s family reported her to authorities, claiming she had changed her name. They submitted documents they said proved she had been Muslim from birth.

Ibrahim’s attorneys, who are appealing the sentence, said the documents are forgeries.

Wani cannot have custody of his son because the boy is considered a Muslim and is not allowed to be in the custody of a Christian man.

The married couple has several businesses, including a farm, south of Khartoum. Wani has returned to Sudan from New Hampshire, where his brother Gabriel Wani also lives.

“I’m just praying for God. He can do a miracle,” Gabriel Wani told the New Hampshire news station WMUR. “Everyone is depressed. You don’t believe it. It’s shock.”

Ibrahim’s death sentence will not be carried out until she gives birth and finishes nursing her baby.

Her conviction has caused international outcry.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson on May 15 said the State Department is “deeply disturbed” by the death sentence. It urged the Sudanese government to “respect the right to religious freedom.”

“We call on the Sudanese legal authorities to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people,” the spokesperson said.

Numerous lawmakers and human rights advocates have called for greater action by the U.S. government and international bodies.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), a co-chair of the U.S. Congress’ International Religious Freedom Caucus, called on the State Department to express to the Sudanese government that such a human rights violation “will be taken extremely seriously” and that Sudan must follow its obligations under international treaties.

“Such blatant disregard for the value of human life – and religious freedom – is an indescribable disgrace,” he said May 15.

Senators Ayotte and Blunt asked Kerry and President Obama to reappoint an Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, saying this position’s primary purpose is to “monitor, prevent, and respond to this exact type of incident.” The ambassador position has been vacant since October 2013, when the previous ambassador stepped down.

A petition from the American Center for Law and Justice’s Be Heard Project calling for Ibrahim’s release has gathered over 200,000 signatures.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a body that advises the U.S. government, strongly condemned the death sentence and called for Ibrahim’s immediate release.

“This case and the sentencing are a travesty for religious freedom and human rights in Sudan,” commission chairman Robert P. George said May 16.

“International attention to this case is critical to holding the Sudanese government accountable for its constitutional provisions and international commitments to protect and respect freedom of religion or belief not only for Mrs. Ibrahim, but all Sudanese, regardless of faith,” he stressed.

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has agreed with the commission’s recommended designation of Sudan as a “country of particular concern” on religious freedom issues.

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, condemned the “draconian” sentence against the woman. He asked President Obama to appeal for Ibrahim’s release and offer her “safe haven.”

“The clock is ticking,” he stressed.




 

Tags: Religious freedom, Persecuted Christians, Sudan

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
17

Liturgical Calendar

December 17, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 49: 2, 8-10
Gospel:: Mt 1: 1-17

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14