|Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, right, is pictured in this undated image with her husband Daniel Wani, left.|
Lawyers for a pregnant Sudanese woman plan to appeal an Islamic
judge’s decision that she be flogged with 100 lashes and then be hanged
for marrying a Christian man and converting.
Amnesty International and Western embassies are expressing alarm over
the harsh sentence meted
out to Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, who is
eight months pregnant.
So far the only concession granted by the Islamic court is to wait until Ishag gives birth before carrying out the sentence.
Amnesty International called the court’s ruling “truly abhorrent.”
The organization’s Sudan researcher Manar Idriss said that “adultery and
apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is
flagrant breach of international human rights law.”
Western embassies in Sudan including the U.S., Canada, the United
Kingdom and the Netherlands also echoing that sentiment issued a joint
statement expressing “deep concern” about the case and urged Sudan to
respect the right to freedom of religion.
Amal Habany, a political activist in support of women’s rights, said
“The court has no appearance of justice or respect for freedom of
choice in ones beliefs, personally and individually.”
Despite the outrcy, the Islamic court has been unmoved.
The judge told Ishaq, “We gave you three days to recant, but you
insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death.”
Officially her crime is apostasy.
Ishaq replied, “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”
The judge also ruled that her marriage to a Christian man was invalid
and not recognized under Islamic law, which means that she had
committed adultery. He ordered her to be flogged for that alleged
After the sentence was decreed, the prosecutor’s spokesman Ahmad
Hassan told the Associated Press that “they were given ample time to
prove their innocence, but I for one believe in upholding our traditions
and customs as Sudanese.”