Christian woman freed after death sentence in Sudan

CNN
Monday, June 23, 2014 - 12:37pm

A Sudanese woman who had been sentenced to death because she declined to renounce her Christian faith has been freed, her lawyer said Monday.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, reunited with her husband after getting out of custody, said her lawyer, Mohaned Mustafa El-Nour. An appeals court found that an initial judgment against her was faulty, he said.

He declined to elaborate.

Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, and sentenced to die by hanging in May while she was eight months pregnant. In addition to the death sentence, the court convicted her of adultery and sentenced her to 100 lashes.

Ibrahim gave birth to a girl in a prison in the capital of Sudan last month, two weeks after she was sentenced to 100 lashes and to die by hanging.

Her husband, Daniel Wani, uses a wheelchair and "totally depends on her for all details of his life," her lawyer said.

She was in the women's prison with her 20-month-old son, but Sudanese officials said the toddler was free to leave at any time, according to her lawyer.

Her sentence had drawn international condemnation from rights groups and foreign embassies in Khartoum, including those of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Christian or Muslim?

Ibrahim says her father was a Sudanese Muslim and her mother was Ethiopian Orthodox. Her father left when she was 6, and she was raised as a Christian.

The court had warned her to renounce her Christianity by May 15, but she held firm to her beliefs.

Sudanese Parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen said claims that Ibrahim was raised as non-Muslim are untrue.

She was raised in an Islamic environment, and her brother, a Muslim, filed the complaint against her, according to Al-Deen.

The complaint alleged that she went missing for several years, and her family was shocked to find out she married a Christian, according to her lawyer.

However, because her father was Muslim, the courts considered her one too, which would mean her marriage to a non-Muslim man is void.

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