Meriam Ibrahim will ‘be released after appeal’

Meriam Ibrahim with her huband Daniel Wani
Meriam Ibrahim with her huband Daniel Wani
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The husband of a woman sentenced to death in Sudan for abandoning Islam said he has not been informed that his wife will be released.

Earlier reports said a Sudanese official had confirmed that Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth in custody last Wednesday, would be freed in a few days.

But the foreign ministry said yesterday that Ms Ibrahim could only be released after a successful judicial appeal.

Her death sentence has sparked international outrage.

Ms Ibrahim was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a judge ruled last month that she should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father’s faith. In Sudan last month, Ms Ibrahim told the court that she was the daughter of a Sudanese Muslim man and an Ethiopian Christian woman. According to Sudanese law, that made her a Muslim.

But Ms Ibrahim said that after her father abandoned the family when she was six, her mother brought her up as a Christian. She regularly attended church in Khartoum; her husband, Daniel Wani, who is a US citizen, said she was absolutely committed to her faith. Ms Ibrahim has refused to renounce her Christianity and now faces hanging for apostasy.

Abdullahi al-Azreg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, was quoted as saying that Ms Ibrahim, 27, would be freed because Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting her.

But the foreign ministry said yesterday that the under-secretary’s words had been taken out of context, and that only the judiciary system could rule on the case.

In an interview with the BBC, Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Mr Wani, said no-one had contacted him about his wife’s release. He added that he had only heard media reports, which he described as rumours.

“No Sudanese or foreign mediator contacted me. Maybe there are contacts between the Sudanese government and foreign sides that I’m not aware of,” Mr Wani said.

“As far as I’m concerned I will wait for the appeal which my lawyer submitted and I hope that my wife will be released.”

Last Wednesday, Ms Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter in her prison cell – the second child from her marriage in 2011 to Mr Wani.

The court had said Ms Ibrahim would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence was carried out. The court also annulled her Christian marriage and sentenced her to 100 lashes for adultery because the union was not considered valid under Islamic law.

David Cameron said Ms Ibrahim’s treatment had “no place in today’s world”, while Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg and Labour leader Mr Miliband both said her case was “abhorrent”.