06/02/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Reports have emerged that the Sudanese government is reneging on its promise to free Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a 27 year old mother of two and wife to an American citizen, who was sentenced to death for her Christian faith on May 15 this year.
Speaking to the BBC Saturday, Under-secretary Abdullahi Alzareg of Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, implicated the government of Sudan held every intention to free Ibrahim for a period of two years to nurse her child before her respective sentences, 100 lashes and death by hanging, would be administered.
Today, however, the government appears to have retracted that promise and is now offering to release Ibrahim pending a successful appeal. Ibrahim’s sentencing to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for apostasy was filed with the Khartoum Court of Appeals on May 22.
According to Ibrahim’s defense lawyers, the appeal could take as many as two years. Should her case be denied by the Khartoum Court of Appeals, or should they find in favor of the initial decision by the El Haj Yousif Public Order Court, Ibrahim’s case can be appealed to Sudan’s Constitutional and Supreme Courts.
Facing pressure from Arabic countries, especially those, including Saudi Arabia, to whom Sudan has presented itself a partner in espousing state-sponsored fundamental Islam, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir faces a critical decision: please Gulf States financing, in part, his war in the Darfur, or bow to mounting pressure from the international community to immediately and unconditionally release Ibrahim.
Though impossible to predict how the al-Bashir regime will handle the situation, action by the government of Sudan will likely be taken so as to appease both the state’s financiers’ demand for Sudan’s implementation for Sharia law and the international community’s call for the respect of human rights.
Sudan has signed unto multiple international charters, including the International Covenant on Civil and Politics Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, both of which guarantee individuals’ and groups’ right to the free exercise of religion. Similarly, Sudan’s interim constitution provides that all persons are “equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination, as to race, color, sex, language, religious creed, political opinion, or ethnic origin, to the equal protection of the law.” (Article 31) and that “every person shall have the right to the freedom of religious creed and worship….no person shall be coerced to adopt such faith, that he/she does not believe in, nor to practice rites or services to which he/she does not voluntarily consent.” (Article 38)
In arbitrarily arresting and detaining Ibrahim on February 17, finding her guilty of adultery and apostasy, actions not considered criminal by democratic governments, including that of the United States’, and sentencing her to 100 lashes and death, Sudan has not only broken multiple international commitments, its chosen to violate its very constitution.
As the government continues to determine its course of action, ICC joins the international community in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Meriam, her daughter Maya, to whom she gave birth on May 27 while in shackles in the hospital wing of the Federal Women’s Prison, where she and her 20-month-old son, Martin, have now spent 106 days imprisoned.
You can join thousands of others who have added their name to ICC’s petition calling #ForMeriam’s immediate and unconditional release. SIGN TODAY!
To learn the complete background of Meriam’s story, see everything ICC has published on her case, and even view photos of her newborn daughter, visit our resource page here.