Churches condemn death sentence of Christian woman accused of apostasy

Gender & Equality
Typography

Churches in Sudan have issued a joint statement to condemn the death sentence to a Christian Sudanese woman who was accused of apostasy by the government of Sudan.

Churches in Sudan have issued a joint statement to condemn the death sentence to a Christian Sudanese woman who was accused of apostasy by the government of Sudan.

Speaking via phone from Khartoum, the Vice Secretary General of Sudan Catholic Bishop Conference Fr. Butros Trille Kuku, told AMECEA Online News that the statement termed as false the charges which were laid against the 27 year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, and appealed to the government to reconsider and let her free.

 

According to her husband, Daniel Wani, his wife is a Catholic. She used to be an Orthodox but she converted to Catholic before they got married, the claims which were not confirmed by Fr. Butros Trille Kuku when asked by AMECEA Online News.

 

“I am not very sure whether she is a Catholic or not, I will find out,” he said.

 

The court also convicted her of adultery and sentenced her to 100 lashes because her marriage to a Christian man is considered void under Sharia law.

 

Meriam says she was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was age 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian. Meriam Ibrahim is a Christian, but Muslim authorities still consider her a Muslim. Muslim women in Sudan are banned from marrying non-Muslims, and children must follow their father's religion by law. However, Muslim men by law also, are allowed to Marry Christian women.

 

Sudanese parliament speaker FatihIzz Al-Deen said the verdict is not final and is in the hands of the judiciary. But he said that her claims that she was raised as a non-Muslim are not true.

 

“She is a Muslim raised in an Islamic environment and her brother, a Muslim, filed the complaint against her,” he said.

 

The complainant (her brother) alleged that Meriam went missing for several years and her family was shocked to find out that she got married to a Christian. In Sudan, if father was a Muslim, the courts consider that a girl child to be also Muslim; that would mean Meriam’s marriage to a non-Muslim man to be null and void.

 

 Currently, Meriam is in prison with her 20-month-old infant, and she is getting regular ailments due to lack of hygiene and the presence of bugs.

 

Meanwhile, Sudan was named among the worst places in the world to be able to practice one’s faith. According to a report published by CNN on 15th May 2014, since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world's worst abusers of religious rights.

 

The country penalizes blasphemy and conversion from Islam, as is the case last week of sentencing a Christian woman to death.

 

On 12 April 2013, the government expelled out of the country the former Secretary General of Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC), Khartoum Secretariat, Fr. Santino Maurino Mokoromomo, on allegation that he was behind the operation of the language school (Clik) which was under the ownership of the Catholic Secretariat, that was accused of spreading Christianity in the country, instead of being a mere educational and language centre. Likewise, the government has also arrested and deported Western Christians suspected of spreading their faith.

 

(This article first appeared on AMECEA online newspaper)

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