[QODLink]
Middle East

Sudan woman faces death penalty for apostasy

Court gives Mariam Yahya until Thursday to abandon her Christian religion or face death sentence.

Last updated: 15 May 2014 06:37
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A Sudanese court has given a 27-year-old woman until Thursday to abandon her Christian faith or face a death sentence, judicial sources have said.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, who was born to a Muslim father, was charged with apostasy, as well as adultery, for marrying a Christian man, something prohibited for Muslim women to do and which makes the marriage void.

The human rights group, Amnesty International, said Ishag was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, because her Muslim father was absent.

Ibrahim's case was the first of its kind to be heard in Sudan, the Reuters news agency reported. A final ruling will be announced on Thursday.

Sudanese rights activists sharply condemned the accusations and called on the Sudanese government to respect freedom of faith.

"The details of this case expose the regime's blatant interference in the personal life of Sudanese citizens," Sudan Change Now Movement, a youth group, said in a statement.

Western embassies in Khartoum also expressed "deep concern" over the case.

"We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of  religion, including one's right to change one's faith or beliefs," the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said in a joint statement.

The embassies urged Sudanese legal authorities "to approach Ms Mariam's case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people".

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ahmed Bilal Osman, Sudan's Information minister, said: "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."

President Omar al-Bashir's government is facing a huge economic and political challenge after the 2011 secession of South Sudan, which was Sudan's main source of oil.

A decision by Bashir last year to cut subsidies and impose austerity measures prompted violent protests in which dozens were killed and hundreds were injured.

312

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list