Opinion

Sudanese court orders release of woman sentenced to death for 'leaving' Islam

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Africa,Freedom of Religion,Religion,Islam,Sudan,Christianity

A Sudanese appeals court has overturned a previous ruling that sentenced Meriam Ibrahim to death for supposedly abandoning her Muslim faith.

“The appeal court ordered the release of Meriam Yahya and the cancellation of the [previous] court ruling,” Sudan's SUNA news agency reported, as translated by Sky News.

Ibrahim, a 27-year-old mother of two, was sentenced last month to hang for apostasy -- the crime of leaving Islam.

But Ibrahim said she was never a Muslim, as she was raised by her Christian Orthodox mother. But according to Sudanese law, because Ibrahim was born in Sudan to a Muslim father, she’s a Muslim.

As such, her marriage to Daniel Wani — an American Christian — was prohibited by law, as interfaith marriages are illegal in Sudan. Because the marriage was not recognized, the courts also sentenced Ibrahim to 100 lashes for adultery.

While the appeals court’s ruling is a step in the right direction, Ibrahim is not free yet.

In early June, Abdullahi Alazreg, Sudan's ministry of foreign affairs under secretary, said the Sudanese government was working to released Ibrahim. But that statement was retracted.

At the time, Ibrahim’s lawyers said the statement for her release would need to come from the appeals court and not the ministry of foreign affairs.

Perhaps this time, Ibrahim will really be freed.

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