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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 16, 2014 - 5:58 am

The White House and State Department came out against the death sentence handed down to an eight-months pregnant woman in Sudan for refusing to renounce Christianity.

“We are deeply disturbed over the sentencing today of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag to death by hanging for apostasy. We are also deeply concerned by the flogging sentence for adultery. We understand that the court sentence can be appealed,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

“We continue to call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, a right which is enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution as well as international human rights law,” she added. “We call on the Sudanese legal authorities to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people.”

According to the Sudan Tribune, a Khartoum court sentenced 27-year-old Ibrahim at the beginning of the month to death by hanging and 100 lashes after convicting her on charges of apostasy and adultery.

“Under Sudan’s Islamic Shari’a law, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, thus any such marriage is considered adulterous. The court later added the charge of apostasy when Ibrahim, who was raised an Orthodox Christian, asserted that she was not a Muslim,” the Tribune said, adding that she “was born in Gedarif state, and raised solely by her Christian Ethiopian Orthodox mother as her Muslim Sudanese father was entirely absent from her upbringing.”

In 2012, she married Dr. Daniel Wani, a South Sudanese-born U.S. citizen in Khartoum; they currently have a 20-month-old son.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement, “We strongly condemn this sentence and urge the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law.”

“We call on the Government of Sudan to respect Ms. Ishag’s right to freedom of religion, a universal human right enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” she said.

“Since 1999, Sudan has been designated as a Country of Particular Concern for its ongoing, egregious, and systematic violations of religious freedom. We continue to urge Sudan to fulfill its constitutional promise of religious freedom, and to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.”

Amnesty International noted there have been no known executions for apostasy since the Sudanese Criminal Code was enacted 1991, but some of the cases were also overturned after the accused recanted their faith.

“The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent. Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law,” said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher.

“Amnesty International believes that Meriam is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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OK, so a woman is going to be executed for professing Christianity. Is Christendom going to do something for a change? And it isn't even like the case of Lebanon, where protecting Christians came up against the all-important European principle of attacking Jews. Get some you-know-what's for a change! Congress can do a great deal against the President with no core morality.

PS - "Adultery is not even a crime". Since when? I don't think this is a helpful statement. (I am referring to actual adultery, not what is alleged here.)
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
What consequences?
Threats by Barry Hussein Obama Soeweto, maniqui-like hopping down the stairs of Air Force 1 ??
What a laugh !!
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm so pissed I better not post a comment.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The message to the government of Sudan should be short and simple. Ms Ishaq alive or Khartoum a glassy sea. Over a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt sent a message. "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead" . However, that was then and this is now. We don't have men like Teddy roosevelt in office. We have 98 pound weaklings---and all the world knows it.
Heaven protect you, Meriam.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really? You don't think that an outraged Congress and mass demonstrations wouldn't make the President threaten military action? If Christians will move on this, something will happen. And you know damned well we Jews will back you on it.

Learn from us. Stand up for your sister!
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Next thing we will hear is that U.S. producers have been forced to give billions in aid to the same savages.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not? We supply money to the Palestinian Authority, which rewards people who kill Jewish civilians. There is currently a move to stop this.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Deeply Disturbed" is their normal mental condition.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
We can all breathe a little easier, as the Administration is "deeply disturbed"
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time for a severe hash tag!!
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will the Department of State admit it helped things get this bad by refusing to help Dr. Wani?

Will it admit it's allowing an American child to be imprisoned in a foreign jail?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. The correct response here is to demand the immediate release of an American citizen or face the consequences.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The toddler is an American, but is Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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