CNN is reporting today that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, is not likely to back down on her Christianity despite the death sentence hanging over her head. Her husband Daniel Wani described her as moody and frustrated during his recent visits. She is distraught that exercising her choice of religion has landed her in a cell. The moodiness is not unheard of given the fact that the prison-bound Ibrahim gave birth last week to a baby girl.
What is unheard of is the two-for-one policy the Sudanese government is displaying. Not only is Ibrahim in prison, but her 20-month-old son is being held captive with her. It is one thing for adults to make choices and have to face the consequences of their actions, right or wrong.
However observers around the world are stunned at the inhumanity of detaining a child on death row with the parent. Although officials say the toddler is free to leave at any time, Wani says the government refuses to recognize the child as his because the little boy was the product of an “illegal” marriage between a Christian and a Muslim.
The Sudanese government arrested Ibrahim after her relatives reported her missing. She was not missing, but had fallen in love with and married Wani, who is also a Christian. Her father’s family was angry and humiliated. They accused Ibrahim of publically disgracing the family by marrying a Christian. Her brother is the one who initially pressed the charges.
Wani says that his wife was actually raised by her mother. He says her father abandoned the family when Ibrahim was only six years old, and her mother raised her as a Christian. Ibrahim was sentenced to death for the charge of renouncing the Muslim faith and to 100 lashes for the charge of adultery because the court claims it was illegal for a woman of a Muslim family to marry a Christian man.
Ibrahim has been detained since January 17th and had a deadline of May 15th to proclaim herself of the Muslim faith. She has refused to do so. Her attorneys are filing appeals now that they have some more time. The Sudanese government generally will not execute a woman until two years after she has given birth.
The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are among some of the countries worldwide whose governments are urging the Sudanese officials to reconsider these harsh sentences. While each sovereign government has their own rules by which they govern their country, the court of world compassion itself is appealing for a reversal on the basis of human rights, religious freedom, and child welfare.