A pregnant woman called Meriam Ibrahim has been incarcerated and sentenced to death in Sudan for converting to Christianity. The 27-year-old mother of two was even forced to give birth to her child while in shackles, and is set to receive 100 lashes if her appeal case is unsuccessful.
Ibrahim is a doctor by profession and her plight has been taken up by the world media who have reported that she has been held in a jail cell in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, accused of apostasy and adultery under Islamic law.
A judge ruled that she broke the state law as her father was a Muslim and under Islamic law that means that she is a Muslim for life, whether she wants to be or not. The charges were brought against her when she married her husband, Daniel, who is a biochemist as well as a US citizen.
The Sudanese authorities have said that they intend to free Meriam Ibrahim, but the family’s lawyers are skeptical. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” her lawyer said.
A mental health counselor who lives near Daniel’s brother in New Hampshire said to reporters:
“We will only believe that she is free when she is let out and arrives here in the US. I said from the start that with the Sudanese government we can expect anything and that’s what has happened. They are saying one thing and doing something else. We are frustrated and worried. It’s not surprising but we just want her freed.”
International pressure on the Sudanese governmet has played a massive part in securing Ibrahim’s release from jail. The US and the UK have condemned the way she has been treated and world leaders have called for her release.
Over 900,000 signatures have been gathered worldwide as the general public give their support for the woman’s release. A spokeswoman for the US-based campaign group Sudan Justice Centre, which has been paying for her legal fees, said that she was determined not to give in:
“They have been promising Meriam money and security if she becomes a Muslim. They have said they will protect her and her family if she does what they want. She has had clerics in her cell practically the whole day telling her to give up her Christian faith. She feels like she is under a lot of pressure but she won’t do what they want.”
It remains to be seen what will happen when Meriam Ibrahim’s appeal case gets to court as people all over the world hope and pray for her speedy release.