Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christianity, has given birth in prison.
Nearly two weeks ago, Ibrahim — who was eight months pregnant at the time — was convicted of "apostasy" by a Sudanese court after she refused to recant her Christian faith. She was first arrested in August 2013, after a member of her father's family turned her into authorities (Sudan's penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims into other religions, but Ibrahim insists she was raised Christian by her Orthodox Christian mother).
She's also married to a Christian man, Daniel Wani. Because it's illegal in Sudan for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, her marriage has been ruled "void" and she has thus been convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes in addition to the death penalty.
According to CNN, on Monday, Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter in a women's prison in Khartoum; her husband was not allowed to be present for the birth. According to reports, she was constantly shackled while pregnant — adding yet another layer of brutality to an already appalling story.
On Thursday, a Sudanese lawyer filed an appeal to reverse the verdict, and it's expected that the appeals court will issue a ruling within the next week. Meanwhile, Sudan faces mounting condemnation. According to a statement from Amnesty International:
[Ibrahim's] sentence has provoked statements of concern from Sudanese civil society, the United Nations, and governments around the world as well as an exceptional response from Amnesty International supporters, more than 620,000 of whom have joined the call for her release...
In an earlier statement, Manar Idriss, the organization's Sudan researcher, said: "The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered." According to Katherine Perks of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, the verdict goes against Sudan's "own constitution and commitments made under regional and international law."
If the appeals process is unsuccessful, Ibrahim's lawyers say they're prepared to take the case to Sudan's Supreme Court and Constitutional Court. Let's hope it doesn't have to come to that.
Image via CNN.