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Pregnant Sudanese Woman Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag Sentenced to Death for Converting to Christianity

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim IshagA court in Sudan has sentenced a woman who is eight months pregnant to death by hanging for converting from Islam to Christianity.

BBC reports Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, 27, converted to Christianity after she married her Christian husband. But Sudan, which is governed under Islamic Sharia law, is one of a handful of Muslim nations in which apostasy is punishable by death.

“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam,” the Khartoum judge told the woman. “I sentence you to be hanged to death.”

Ishag was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 whip lashes because under Islamic law, her marriage to a Christian is not valid.

The whipping and execution will take place after Ishag recovers from childbirth, authorities said.

Groups of protesters supporting and opposing the death sentence gathered outside the courtroom. About 50 people chanting “No to executing Meriam” were countered by a smaller group approving of her death sentence.

The international human rights group Amnesty International condemned the sentence.

“The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent,” said Amnesty International Sudan researcher Manar Idriss.

Ishag’s lawyers said they plan to appeal her death sentence to a higher court.

Various Western embassies in Khartoum, including those of the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, issued a joint statement condemning the verdict.

“We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs,” the statement said.

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