News reports out today indicate the Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan for rejecting Islam is being shackled by Sudanese officials despite the fact she is eight-months pregnant. The Islamic court is waiting until Meriam Ibrahim, 26, gives birth before carrying out the sentence but she is reportedly held in chains until then.
Ibrahim’s husband, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani, a Christian, tells CNN that she has been spending her days bound with shackles on her legs. He was able to visit his wife for the first time in prison yesterday.
“He originally was not allowed to see her until this week,” Tina Ramirez, executive director of Hardwired, a U.S.-based advocacy group against religious persecution, told FoxNews.com. “Once he was able to, she was shackled and her legs were swollen.”
Ramirez added that Ibrahim’s attorney is working on an appeal as international outrage over her persecution grows.
In addition, a statement from several attorneys associated with the Sudanese high court was released Monday, calling for an appeal of Ibrahim’s death sentence.
“The [Sudanese] government is afraid of the international attention,” Ramirez said. “They are paying attention and this [statement] is a sign of that.”
Ibrahim and Wani were married in a formal ceremony in 2011 and have an 18-month-old son, Martin, who is with her in jail. The couple operates several businesses, including a farm, south of Khartoum, the country’s capital.
Wani fled to the United States as a child to escape the civil war in southern Sudan, but later returned. He is not permitted to have custody of his son because the boy is considered Muslim and cannot be raised by a Christian man.
Ibrahim was convicted under the Islamist-run government of apostasy (the crime of renouncing or insulting Islam) punishable by death in some Muslim-majority countries. According to news reports, lawyers representing her told Amnesty International that religious clerics in court had asked the 27-year-old Thursday if she would recant her faith, but she told them: “I am a Christian.”
Hours after a Sudanese court sentenced his pregnant wife to death when she refused to recant her Christian faith.
The death sentence issued to a woman who refused to renounce Christianity for Islam in Sudan is an “egregious violation of basic human rights,” Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees U.S. policy in Africa, said previously.
“This is an affront to religious freedom everywhere,” Smith said. “The refusal of the government of Sudan to allow religious freedom was one of the reasons for Sudan’s long civil war. The U.S. and the rest of the international community must demand Sudan reverse this sentence immediately.”
“Mrs. Ibrahim’s willingness to stand-up for her faith—even in the face of death—is a true mark of uncommon courage and bravery,” Smith said. “This case in Sudan mirrors a similar incident 18 months ago in Nigeria in which Boko Haram shot Habila Adamu, who refused to renounce Christianity just like Mrs. Ibrahim.”
Adamu, shot in the head and left for dead, was the only adult male Christian in his village to survive that November 2012 attack. He lived to travel to Washington to give riveting testimony before a congressional hearing Smith held in November 2013: “They asked me, ‘Are you ready to die as a Christian?’ he testified, “and I told them, ‘I am ready,’ but before I closed my mouth, they have fired.”
Smith has held a number of hearings on the Sudanese conflict, including a Feb. 26 hearing, “U.S. Policy Toward Sudan and South Sudan,” by the House Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee. It featured lead witness Donald Booth, Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from the U.S. State Department, as well as the human rights organizations the Enough Project, Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism and Amnesty International USA.