UK & World News

  • 27 May 2014, 17:03

Sudan Death Sentence Woman Gives Birth In Jail

A woman sentenced to death in Sudan for converting to Christianity from Islam has given birth to a baby girl in prison.

Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, was sentenced to 100 lashes for marrying a non-Muslim man and to death by hanging after being convicted under Sudan's strict Sharia law which forbids apostasy - the abandoning of a religion.

A Western diplomat familiar with the case said: "She gave birth to a girl today. The mother and baby seem to be doing okay.

"It's a cruel treatment to be in such a situation."

Ishag's case caused outrage after a Khartoum court sentenced her to death in May.

Born to a Muslim father, she was convicted under Sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions under threat of death.

Under Islam she is viewed to be a Muslim because her father was a Muslim.

The 27-year-old, who is also being held in detention with her 20-month-old son in Omdurman, married Daniel Wani, a Christian from South Sudan.

She was ordered to recant by a judge, and then sentenced to death when she refused as well as 100 lashes for "adultery".

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he "wholeheartedly" supported calls by the Christian Muslim Foundation for the sentence to be dropped.

He said: "Our religions tell us that human interactions should be shaped by compassion and humanity, not by death sentences.

"It is vital that all people should enjoy freedom of conscience and be able to follow their own religion.

"Christians and Muslims should be able to coexist alongside each other, we emphasise that force and compulsion are not characteristics of either faith."

Last week, the UK and Canada summoned Sudanese diplomats to express concerns over Ishag's plight.

Ishag was told she would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the death sentence is carried out.

If she is hanged, she would be the first person executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

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