The below is a press release issued jointly by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AR) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) detailing their responses to Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s conviction Sunday of charges of adultery and apostasy, punishable by 100 lashes and death respectively. At the time of this post, Ibrahim’s sentencing hearing took place, at which she was offered an opportunity to recant her Christian faith in profession of Islam, or be sentenced to death. The Congressmen’s press release has been published below in full.
05/15/2014 Washington, D.C. (Office of Representative Trent Franks) – On Mother’s Day, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted of “apostasy” and “adultery” for marrying a non-Muslim and converting to Christianity. Meriam was given three days by the court to recant her Christian faith and, if she refuses, faces a possible death penalty as well as 100 lashes. Meriam’s sentencing is scheduled to take place Thursday. She is married to an American citizen.
In addition, local sources close to the case report that Meriam was subjected to severely inhumane treatment during her detention, including beatings and denial of critical medical care, since her initial arrest on February 17, 2014.
Congressman Trent Franks stated, “Sudan is blatantly violating the universal right to freedom of religion by convicting a Christian Sudanese woman, under their strict enforcement of Shari’a law, solely because of her religious beliefs.
“I have closely followed Meriam’s case and was horrified to learn how this innocent mother was convicted on Mother’s Day. She now faces the unconscionable decision of either denying her Christian faith or receiving a death sentence.
“I urge Sudan to immediately and unconditionally release Meriam and uphold religious freedom standards within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Sudan is a signatory and under which apostasy and adultery are not criminal offences.”
Congressman Frank Wolf said, “I am deeply troubled by the case involving Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman who was recently convicted on charges of adultery and apostasy and if she refuses to recant her faith faces possible flogging and even death. There is an urgent need for international attention to this injustice. Meriam, who is presently eight months pregnant, is languishing in a Sudanese prison along with her 20-month son.
“This is a human rights travesty in which our State Department should be fully engaged, especially given that Meriam is married to an American citizen. I join my colleagues, in calling on the relevant government authorities in Sudan to immediately and unconditionally release Meriam and her young son and to respect basic tenets of religious freedom and belief.”