Thursday, 15 May 2014
Sudan Woman faces death for Apostasy
A Sudanese court has sentenced a woman to hang for apostasy after she left Islam and married a Christian man.
"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death," the judge told the woman, AFP reports.
Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the sentence as "appalling and abhorrent".
Local media report the sentence would not be carried out for two years after she has given birth.
Sudan has a majority Muslim population, which is governed by Islamic law. It rules that apostasy - the abandonment of one's religious faith - is a crime.
Western embassies and rights groups had urged Sudan to respect the right of the pregnant woman to choose her religion.
The judge also sentenced the woman to 100 lashes after convicting her of adultery - because her marriage to a Christian man was not valid under Islamic law.
This will reportedly be carried out when she has recovered from giving birth.
Earlier in the hearing, an Islamic cleric spoke with her in a caged dock for about 30 minutes, AFP reports.
Then she calmly told the judge: "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."
Amnesty International said the woman, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood.