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Sudan Frees Woman Sentenced To Death For Christian Faith

Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy (which means abandonment of religion) and adultery. She was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging.
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jun 23, 2014

Back in May, a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death after she converted from Islam to Christianity. But now, more than one month later, Meriam Ibrahim is being released from prison.

BBC reports Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy — which means "abandonment of religion" — and adultery. She was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging.

Ibrahim was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. The Telegraph reports when Ibrahim was 6 years old, her father abandoned the family and her mother went on to raise her as an Orthodox Christian. 

When she grew up, Ibrahim married Daniel Wani, a Christian man. The Sudan Tribune says, "Under Sudan's Islamic Shari'a law, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, thus any such marriage is considered adulterous." In the eyes of the law, Ibrahim is still considered Muslim because her father was.

In court, Ibrahim protested she was not Muslim, and the charge of apostasy was added to her sentence. The court's decision sparked national outrage, in part because Ibrahim was eight months pregnant at the time it was handed down.

Her son Martin, who is almost 2 years old, was sent to live with Ibrahim in prison, and she gave birth to a baby girl named Maya at the end of May. News Limited reported Wani was not allowed in the prison when his wife gave birth.

But Ibrahim's lawyer told The Telegraph the fact she was pregnant when her sentence was handed down helped save her life by giving them more time to appeal the decision.

"The authorities will start counting two years of breastfeeding. After that, she will be sentenced according to the previous judgment."

Change.org petition asking Sudanese officials to reconsider the harsh sentence has received more than 980,000 signatures.

And Amnesty International has kept viewers updated on Ibrahim's condition inside the prison. Back in May, the organization reported: "Since Meriam has been sentenced, we are deeply concerned at the conditions of her detention and use of cruel and inhuman [sic] forms of restraint. We have received worrying reports that she has been constantly shackled."

Ibrahim's lawyer filed an appeal shortly after she was sentenced, and CNN reports the appeals court ruled in her favor."Even the appeals court found it quite easy to strike down because there were just so many discrepancies and places where the initial judgment seemed to part ways with even the Sudanese constitution."

Monday Ibrahim was released from prison and reunited with her husband.