Members of the U.S. Senate are pleading with the Obama administration to help Meriam Ibrahim, who is 8-months pregnant and is a Christian woman sentenced to hang to death in Sudan for rejecting Islam. She is being shackled by Sudanese officials despite the fact she is eight-months pregnant.
She will be tortured – beaten with 100 lashes for marrying an American Christian. Then she will be hung for being a Christian. Meanwhile, her son, a 20-month-old boy and American citizen, is also jailed with her and is sick from the prison conditions.
Ibrahim’s husband, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani, said lawyers representing her told Amnesty International that religious clerics in court had asked her if she would recant her faith, but she told them: “I am a Christian.”
New Hampshire’s Senator Kelly Ayotte and fellow Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri have written to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to grant the 27-year-old Sudanese woman political asylum. They are calling the the death sentence an “abhorrent violation of fundamental freedoms and universal rights.”
Meanwhile, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs Chris Coons (D-DE), Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) today introduced legislation condemning the death sentence. The resolution calls for her immediate and unconditional release from prison, where she remains with her 20 month-old son.
The resolution reaffirms the U.S. government’s commitment to ending religious discrimination, calling for the inclusion of religious freedom and respect for international human rights during the drafting of Sudan’s new constitution.
“I am disgusted and appalled by the inhumane verdict Ms. Ibrahim has received, simply for refusing to recant her Christian faith. This is yet another example of the kind of religious intolerance and persecution that has no place in any civilized, free society,” said Rubio. “No one should have to live in a world where they fear for their life simply because of religion.
“This legislation strives to encourage religious freedom within Sudan by ensuring that the new constitution includes protections for such fundamental rights, which would be a significant step toward a more democratic future for the people of Sudan,” added Rubio. “I also commend Ms. Ibrahim’s courage in refusing to renounce her Christianity, and I encourage her to remain steadfast. The world condemns her verdict and will stand by her in her moment of need.”
“Prosecuting and sentencing to death someone — let alone a pregnant woman — because she refused to recant her religious faith is abhorrent and utterly inhuman,” said Coons. “Instead of persecuting citizens, governments should be protecting them and their right to hold and change their religious beliefs. The Sudanese Government made a commitment when it signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It should release Ms. Ibrahim Ishag and her son from jail and reject these apostasy laws.”
“The idea of imprisoning, let alone flogging or killing, a pregnant mother for her religious beliefs, or those of her husband, is an affront to the Sudanese constitution, international norms, and basic human dignity,” said Menendez. “Sudan must recommit itself to upholding its own domestic and international obligations, including respecting the right of Ms. Ishag and all Sudanese to worship as they so choose.”
“It is hard to imagine that we still live in a world where a government has detained a pregnant woman and sentenced her to death solely for peacefully practicing her personal faith,” said Inhofe. “I’ve joined my Senate colleagues in urging the government of Sudan to release Meriam and her child immediately and for the United States to help with any means possible to ensure her safety. We are a nation founded on the value that freedom of religion is the foundation to all freedoms, and therefore we have a duty to encourage others to recognize this basic human right. Kay and I have Meriam and her family in our prayers, and I will continue to work to do everything in my power to help secure her safe release.”