Daily Israel Report

Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Death to be Freed

A Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy will be "freed within days", according to Sudan's foreign ministry.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/1/2014, 6:14 AM

Sudanese flag
Sudanese flag
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A Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy will be "freed within days", a foreign ministry official told AFP Saturday, after her case triggered an international outcry.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was condemned to death on May 15 under the Islamic Sharia law that has been in place in Sudan since 1983 and which outlaws conversions under pain of death.

"The lady will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice," Abdullah al-Azraq, a foreign ministry undersecretary, told AFP.

Azraq, who spoke via telephone from London, did not elaborate.

The 27-year-old gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday in a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman.

Her husband, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani, visited Ishag and the baby on Thursday, after being denied access earlier in the week, and told AFP both were in "good health."

Ishag was born to a Muslim father but told the court during her trial that she had never been a Muslim herself.

The court gave her three days to "recant" her faith and when she refused, Ishag was handed the death penalty and sentenced to 100 lashes for "adultery".

Under Sudan's interpretation of Sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man, so any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

Her case sparked international condemnation, with British Prime Minister David Cameron saying Saturday he was "appalled" by the "barbaric" sentence given to Ishag.

Britain and Canada had summoned the Sudanese envoys to their countries last week and told them the sentence violated Sudan's international human rights obligations.

United Nations experts have called the conviction "outrageous" and said it must be overturned.

Sudan, while defending the verdict, had earlier hinted that Ishag might be freed, saying on May 18 the verdict was “preliminary”.