Stands against the abuse of Human Right in all forms
Friday, May 23, 2014
Stop execution of pregnant mother in Sudan | Amnesty International UK
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is eight months pregnant. Sudan intends to execute her just because she is Christian. Meriam has been sentenced to death for 'apostasy', or refusing to renounce her religion.
Meriam has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man. She is a prisoner of conscience. Ask Sudan to release her.
27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is heavily pregnant. When she appeared before the courtroom in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, on 15 May and refused to renounce her Christian religion, the judges sentenced to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’. She has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man.
Meriam has committed no crime. She is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately.
Heavily pregnant, imprisoned with her toddler
Now, Meriam is being held in detention with her 20-month-old son. She is expecting her second child next month. She needs medical care and the support of her family, but if her conditions don’t change she will give birth in prison.
Sudan won't hang Meriam while she is pregnant. The Criminal Code states that she must give birth first, and nurse her child for two years before her execution can go ahead. If Sudan does execute Meriam after this period, they will leave two young children motherless, as well as taking away Meriam's right to life.
No date for her execution has yet been announced.
Sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’
Sudan follows Sharia (Islamic) law in its Criminal Code, and ‘apostasy’ (Riddah, in Arabic) is punishable by death. Apostasy is the renouncing of Islamic religion, either by refusing to follow Islam, or through being a believer of an alternative religion.
Those charged with apostasy have three days to renounce their religion and follow Islam. Meriam first appeared before the court in Khartoum on 11 May. When, on 15 May, she refused to renounce her Christian faith, her death sentence was confirmed.
Sentenced to 100 lashes for marrying a Christian
Meriam was first arrested in August last year because her husband is Christian. Under Sudan’s Sharia law, marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is illegal, and constitutes adultery.
One of her relatives had claimed that Meriam was committing ‘adultery’ for marrying outside of Islam, and reported her to authorities. But Meriam identifies as Christian – while her father is Muslim, he was absent during her childhood and she was raised Orthodox Christian by her mother.
On 15 May, the court ruled that the allegations of ‘adultery’ stood, and agreed that Meriam should face 100 lashes for being married to a Christian.
Flogging constitutes torture, and should never be used as a punishment. Moreover, ‘adultery’ is not a crime that should be punishable by the courts.
Is hanging for 'apostasy' common?
We don't know of anyone who has been executed for 'apostasy' in Sudan since the 1991 Criminal Code was brought in. Many people have been charged with the crime but had their charges dropped or convictions overturned after renouncing alternative religions and following Islam.
Sudan continues to use the death penalty to punish its citizens - often to oppress political activity and opposition groups. We recorded at least 21 executions in Sudan last year. At least 29 people were sentenced to execution last year in official reports, although the real figure is believed to be much higher - over 100.
Sudan must drop all sentences
Meriam hasn't committed any crime. At Amnesty, we call people like Meriam, imprisoned solely for their beliefs or identity (religious, political, etc), 'prisoners of conscience'.
We are asking Sudan to release Meriam immediately and unconditionally.
In addition to that, we always stand against use of the death penalty - it's the ultimate denial of human rights (the right to life and the right not to be tortured). We hope that Sudan will move towards abolishing the death penalty, and encourage a moratorium on executions.
We also ask Sudan to abolish flogging as a punishment - it constitutes torture, and as such is a violation of human rights.