Pregnant Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Death for Apostasy

Published: 15th May 2014 10:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2014 10:52 PM   |  A+A-

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese woman was sentenced to death Thursday after she was convicted of apostasy - the renunciation of one's faith - for marrying a Christian, a media report quoted officials as saying.

Eight-months pregnant Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who is in custody with her 20-month-old son, was convicted Sunday by a court in Sudanese capital Khartoum , The Independent reported Thursday.

The 26-year-old doctor was handed down the death penalty after the four day grace period to recant her religion expired Thursday.

The Sudanese court also sentenced her to 100 lashes for committing zena - Arabic for illegitimate sex - for with a non-Muslim.

Ibrahim can appeal her death sentence as well as the 100 lashes.

Meanwhile, the International rights groups and Western embassies in Khartoum, have condemned the verdict which they describe as "an extreme punishment".

Amnesty International Thursday slammed Ibrahim's conviction and death sentence as "truly abhorrent".

The woman, according to the rights group, was also convicted of adultery because her marriage to a Christian was considered void under Sharia law.

"The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered," Manar Idriss, Amnesty International's Sudan researcher, said in a statement.

"Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all."

The couple married in 2011 and have a 20-month-old child.

However, the marriage is not recognised under Sudanese law, because Ibrahim's husband is a non-Muslim, the report stated.

Muslim women in the conservative country are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father's religion, the report said.

Sudan introduced Islamic Sharia laws in the early 1980s, a move that contributed to the resumption of an insurgency in the mostly animist and Christian south of Sudan. 

Sudan's ruler Omar Bashir is an Islamist who seized power in a 1989 coup.


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