Christian Woman Escapes Death In Sudan Over Conversion

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday. i i

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption AFP/Getty Images
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday.

AFP/Getty Images

A Sudanese woman who gave birth in prison after being sentenced to hang for converting to Christianity has been freed. The case of Meriam Ibrahim attracted wide concern, and criticism from Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ibrahim, 27, says she was raised an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, after being born to a Muslim father. In May, she was eight months pregnant when she was tried for charges that included apostasy — abandoning Islam — and marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani.

"When she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the judges sentenced Meriam to death by hanging," Amnesty International says. "Meriam has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man."

An appeals court revoked those sentences today, state media reported, reversing a decision that rested on Sudan's Islamic Sharia law that forbids conversion from the Muslim faith as well as religious intermarriage.

Ibrahim gave birth in prison on May 27; her lawyers have said that during her labor, her legs remained in chains. She had been facing execution after a two-year grace period ended; that time had been granted so that she could care for her newborn daughter. Both of her children have been living in prison with their mother.

On a Facebook page devoted to saving Ibrahim, this update was posted Monday:

"Daniel and the solicitors are going to the prison right now in order to get Meriam, Martin and Maya!! Don't stop praying yet, they need to have privacy and safety and Visa to the US would be nice."

As CNN reports, Ibrahim's case included arguments within her own family over her religion. The network cites a member of Sudan's Parliament as saying Ibrahim "was raised in an Islamic environment, and her brother, a Muslim, filed the complaint against her."

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