Husband visits Sudanese wife condemned to hang for apostasy

Daniel Wani, a US citizen originally from South Sudan, carrying his newborn daughter Maya at the womens prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman. (AFP)

The husband of a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy said Friday he had visited her in jail, where she just gave birth, and that she and their daughter are well.

There was an international outcry after Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was condemned on May 15 under Islamic sharia law, which has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

The 27-year-old is being held at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, where she gave birth on Tuesday.

Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen originally from South Sudan, told AFP he had visited Ishag and the baby on Thursday, after being denied access earlier in the week, and that they were both in "good health."

He said he had obtained permission from the authorities to see them two days a week.

He also disclosed that he had sought permission for his wife to be transferred to a hospital to give birth, but that this was refused.

"We were afraid, but God protected her," he said.

Ishag already has a 20-month-old son, who is also incarcerated with her, rights activists say.

Ishag was born to a Muslim father but told the court, before Judge Abbas Mohammed al-Khalifa passed the verdict against her: "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."

The judge said to her: "We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged."

He also sentenced her to 100 lashes for "adultery."

Under Sudan's interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man, so any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

Britain and Canada last week summoned the Sudanese envoys to their countries over Ishag's case, which they say conflicts with Sudan's international human rights obligations.

United Nations rights experts have called the conviction "outrageous" and said it must be overturned.

An appeal has already been filed against the verdict, and one of Ishag's defense lawyers, Mohannad Mustapha, said a hearing that was to have been held on Wednesday was postponed because the case file was incomplete.

Ishag should be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before any death sentence is carried out, legal experts have said.

If she is hanged, Ishag will be the first person executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British-based group working for religious freedom.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
Top