Leaders condemn Sudan death sentence
31 May 2014
Last updated at 08:25
Meriam Ibrahim has been sentenced to 100 lashes as well as death by hanging
UK political leaders have united to urge Sudan to lift the “barbaric” death sentence handed down to a Christian woman accused of abandoning Islam.
A court ruled that Meriam Ibrahim, who was raised by her Christian mother and married a Christian, was Muslim in line with her father – which she rejects.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg said they were appalled by the treatment of Ms Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in her cell on Wednesday.
She has appealed against her sentence.
Mr Cameron said the treatment of Ms Ibrahim had “no place in today’s world” and said the UK would “continue to press the government of Sudan to act”. Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband both said her case was “abhorrent”.
Meanwhile, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the UK should reconsider whether it was “acceptable” to give aid money to “states which allow treatment such as that handed out to Meriam Ibrahim”.
Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, who is a US citizen, told the BBC he was hopeful the appeal would succeed.
He said he had seen his new daughter in prison on Wednesday, and his wife and the baby were both doing well.
But he said he was most concerned about his 20-month-old son, who has been living with his mother in prison since February.
Continue reading the main story
Nobody should be persecuted because of the religion they practice or the person they fall in love with”
Labour Party leader
“His attitude has changed a lot,” Mr Wani said.
“He used to be a happy boy. When I went there, he just looked at me. No smile.”
Ms Ibrahim, 27, was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a Sudanese judge ruled earlier this month that she should be regarded as Muslim because it had been her father’s faith.
She has refused to renounce her Christianity and has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy.
The court said she would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence is carried out.
Her Christian marriage, in 2011, has been annulled and she has been sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery because the marriage is not considered valid under Islamic law.
Mr Cameron said: “Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right,” he said.
“I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children.”
Ms Ibrahim will be allowed to nurse her daughter for two years before the sentence is carried out
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the sentence “abhorrent” and said it was a “flagrant breach of international human rights”.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the incarceration of Ms Ibrahim was “utterly appalling and an abhorrent abuse of her human rights”.
“Nobody should be persecuted because of the religion they practice or the person they fall in love with,” he said.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair also described the case as a “brutal and sickening distortion of faith”, the Times newspaper reported.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International meanwhile has launched a petition calling for the Sudanese government to release Ms Ibrahim.
Sudan has a majority Muslim population and Islamic law has been in force there since the 1980s.
May 31st, 2014