Apostasy: Sudanese Christian’s case in appeals court




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By Nima Elbagir and Faith Karimi

Khartoum – A Sudanese appeals court has started deliberating case of a sentenced to for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, her husband said.

Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, was condemned to die by hanging last month after she declined to profess she is a Muslim, religion of her father.

Sharia law considers her a Muslim and does not recognize her marriage to a Christian. She said she was raised as a Christian by her mother after her father walked on them.

“Formal notification was given to myself and my lawyer that appeals court has begun deliberation of Mariam’s case,” said Daniel Wani, her husband. He said he got notice .

Seeking asylum in the U.S.

As the case goes through the courts, Wani, who is an American citizen, said he is asking U.S. to expedite the asylum process for his wife.

If she’s released, their lives could be in grave danger in Sudan, he said.

“I am scared for all our lives — me, my wife and my two children — if we have to remain inside Sudan, even a day after her release.”

Wani said he is appealing his home state , New Hamphire’s U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte.

The court convicted Ibrahim of apostasy on May 15. At the time, she was eight pregnant. She gave to a baby girl late last month at a Khartoum , where she’s detained with Martin, her 20-month-old son.

Despite languishing in with two infants, she’s holding firm to her beliefs, according to her husband.

“There is pressure on her Muslim religious that she should return to the faith,” Wani told CNN in a TV exclusive. “She said, ‘How can I return when I never was a Muslim? Yes, my father was a Muslim, but I was brought by my mother.’ ”

Wani said his wife is a practicing Christian, so than him, and even had their son baptized.

“I know my wife. She’s committed,” he said. “They brought in sheikhs (to the ) and she told them, ‘I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind.'”

Wani said he is thrilled about his new daughter but hopes her doesn’t hasten his wife’s sentence.

In past cases involving pregnant or nursing women, Sudan waited until the mother had weaned her child before executing any sentence. Sharia law as practiced in Sudan prohibits carrying the sentence on a pregnant until two years after she gives .

CNN sought comment the Sudanese government and was directed to the . A CNN request for an was denied, and the minister said they don’t comment on matters that are going through the courts.

An attempt to contact Sudan’s foreign affairs minister was unsuccessful.

Muslim relatives turned her in

Ibrahim was arrested after Muslim relatives accused her of renouncing her religion. They alleged that she went missing for years, and her family was shocked to find she married a Christian.

Wani said he’d never met the relatives who made the accusations. His wife, he said, was raised a Christian by her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox, after her Muslim father deserted the family when she was 6.

“These people filed charges claiming that she was their sister and filed a police report saying that she had disappeared,” he said.

Brother: Repent or die

However, one of Ibrahim’s brothers, Al-Samani al-Hadi, tells a different story.

He claims Wani — whom he called “the priest” — fed his sister “potions” to convert her to Christianity. He wants her to repent.

“But if she refuses she should be executed,” he told CNN last week.

At first, Ibrahim was charged with adultery for marrying a Christian. The apostasy accusation was added after she maintained she was a Christian, according to her husband.

She’s been detained since January 17. In addition to the death sentence, the court sentenced her to 100 lashes for the adultery conviction. (CNN)