Over the weekend, news reports surfaced that a top Sudanese official indicated Meriam Ibrahaim would “be freed” after getting a death sentence from the government of Sudan for rejecting Islam. LifeNews was doubtuful when the reports surfaced and it turns out the official in question talked out of turn, with the court in Sudan indicating that only it has the power to overturn the decision.
Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said the county was committed to protecting the woman and guaranteed religious freedom and indicated Ibrahim would be released and not face further charges. But lawyers for 27-year-old Ms Ibrahim expressed scepticism that she would be freed so quickly.
They were right.
“But the foreign ministry issued a clarification on Sunday, saying that only the judicial system could rule on the case,” the Belfast telegraph reported today.
Meanwhile, Meriam’s attorneys are appealing her case to international courts, as they are taking her appeal to the African Commission on Human Rights. As the London Telegraph reports:
Lawyers for Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy, are appealing to the African Commission on Human Rights in a bid to secure her freedom – after the pledge that she would be released “within days” was denied by the government.
“Sudan has ratified the African charter on human and people’s rights,” said Elshareef Ali Mohammed, a lawyer representing Ms Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani. “The charter states that apostasy is not a crime – and so Sudan should never have brought this case in the first place.”
Mr Elshareef and his colleagues told The Telegraph that they have also submitted an appeal to the court in Khartoum – although, to their bemusement, the court on Monday was claiming that they had not received the paperwork.
The renewed attempts to secure her freedom followed a weekend of bizarre and conflicting reports about her case.
Mr Elshareef immediately pointed out that only the appeal court could free her – not the foreign ministry – and the next day Abu Bakr al-Sideeg, spokesman for the foreign ministry confirmed that the reports were false.
“I am not aware that any release is imminent,” he said.
Now the legal team are hoping that the Commission, which is based in Gambia, will pressure President Omar al-Bashir to intervene and overturn the sentence.
The Commission states that it has been set up to “ensure protection of human and peoples’ rights” through what it terms the “friendly settlement of disputes.”
Meriam gave birth this week to a baby girl named Maya and she continues to languish in a notoriously rank Sudanese prison with her 20-month-old son and her newborn daughter. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions urging Sudan to free Meriam or urging their own governments to speak out on her behalf.
Just a day after the first pictures emerged of Meriam Ibrahim’s newborn baby named Maya, her husband was pleading with people around the world to speak up on her behalf so she is not executed for her faith.
The pregnant Christian woman gave birth in chains while in a Sudanese prison because of her Christian faith. Ibrahim’s legs were chained as she gave birth in Sudanese jail and the 27-year-old gave birth as she was shackled to the floor. Her husband was initially refused entry to jail but was eventually allowed in with lawyer.
In an email to LifeNews, Family Research Council President Tony Perkinswas critical of the Obama administration for not doing more to speak out on her behalf as other governments worldwide have done.
“Earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) that he wasn’t sure he knew about her case but promised to look into the possibility of granting safe haven in the United States. Since then, he has said nothing more publicly,” he said.
“The Obama administration should grant immediate refugee status to Meriam and her children so that they will have the option of finding safe haven in the United States. Family Research Council joins thousands of Americans in demanding President Obama offer a safe haven to this suffering American family,” concluded Perkins.
David Christensen, the Vice President for Government Affairs, is urging Americans to contact Congress on Meriam’s behalf.
“Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support H. Res. 601, introduced this week by Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, calling for the release of imprisoned Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim,” he said.
“Meriam has spent months in a Sudanese prison and has been sentenced to death — all for refusing to recant her Christian faith. Just this week, she gave birth to her second child — a daughter — while still held in jail. Despite being married to an American citizen and the fact that her children are also eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, Meriam’s case has received little attention from our Department of State or the U.S. Embassy in Sudan,” he told LifeNews. “That’s why H. Res. 601 also calls upon this Administration to act now on behalf of Meriam and to move quickly to grant her and her children refuge in the United States.”
“Sudan’s egregious treatment of Meriam represents the type of human rights abuses our country has long publically condemned. It’s important that Members of Congress act now to pressure the Executive Branch to act and to signal their support for religious freedom and human rights. Please contact your Representative and urge them to co-sponsor H. Res. 601 today,’ he concluded.