Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, is a graduate of the School of Medicine at Khartoum University and lifelong Christian. Meriam, met and married her naturalized American husband in Khartoum in 2012, and they have a 20-month old toddler son. Currently pregnant with their second child, Meriam was sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery by the Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif, Khartoum, Sudan on May 11, 2014.
A year ago, a purported relative of Ibrahim opened a case against her (and her husband) in Halat Kuku Court of Khartoum North for alleged “adultery” under article 146 of the Sudan Criminal Code because of her marriage to a Christian. Ibrahim’s husband Daniel Wani was accused of proselytizing a Muslim, and eventually authorities added the apostasy charge to Ibrahim herself. She was arrested on February 17, 2014, and is currently detained in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison along with her 20-month-old son, Martin Wani. Meriam Ibrahim was charged with the so-called Sharia “hadd offenses” under Sudan’s Penal Code of adultery (per article 146), and “apostasy’”(forsaking Islam, per article 126).
…Ibrahim’s Sudanese Muslim father abandoned the family when she was 6 years old, leaving her to be raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother. During a March 4, 2014 “hearing” Ibrahim testified before the Public Order Court that she is a Christian, showing her marriage certificate—which designates her as Christian—as formal proof of her religion. Moreover, three potential witnesses from Western Sudan who traveled to the hearing to validate Ibrahim’s lifelong adherence to Christianity were denied the opportunity to provide evidence.
Implying that her sentence might be annulled or reduced if she converted to Islam, the Public Order Court informed Mrs Ibrahim she had until tomorrow, Thursday, May 15, 2014 to pursue this option.
Dismissing the international outcry over Meriam Ibrahim’s Sharia-compliant, if Western human rights repugnant, “conviction,” Sudan’s Minister of Information, Ahmed Bilal Osman, replied with candor and defiance:
It’s not only Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, in all the Muslim countries, it is not allowed at all for a Muslim to change his religion.
Today (Thursday 5/15/14), Meriam stoically refused to forsake Christianity, her lifelong faith, and the religion of the mother who raised her. Agence France Presse (AFP) described how just prior to her sentencing, “an Islamic religious leader spoke with her in the caged dock for about 30 minutes,”— likely one last ditch effort to convince Meriam to renounce her Christian faith, and become a Muslim. But despite the possibility of having her sentenced reduced, perhaps even annulled by “accepting Islam,” Meriam refused this coercive conversion, and calmly told the presiding Sharia judge the objective truth:
I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.
In response, Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa, addressing Meriam by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah, rendered his Sharia-based punishment sentence:
We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged.
Judge Khalifa also sentenced Meriam to 100 lashes for “adultery.”
Thus far, as I detailed yesterday, the Obama Administration State Department (notably the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum) has reacted with what can only be characterized as malevolent indifference to the plight of Meriam Ibrahim and her family — including her incarcerated 20 month old toddler son, Martin, a U.S. citizen.
Will this unconscionable U.S. behavior continue, or will the U.S. Department of State — under intense pressure from concerned Americans, and their elected Congressmen and Senators — demand the immediate release of Meriam and Martin, and expedite them and Ibrahim’s naturalized American citizen husband Daniel, to safety, and protection of their religious freedom, in the U.S.?