American Rushes to Sudan to Save Pregnant Wife From Hanging
ABC News By COLLEEN CURRY May 19, 2014 2:24 PM
Published: Yahoo News
A Sudanese immigrant living in New Hampshire has returned to Sudan to try to save his wife, who is eight months pregnant and facing the death penalty there for marrying a Christian.
Daniel Wani is a Sudanese man with U.S. citizenship who has been living in Manchester, N.H.
His wife, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, became the focus of worldwide news reports last week after the Sudanese government sentenced her to death. She is eight months pregnant.
The Islamic court considered Ishag a Muslim and did not recognize her marriage to Wani, a Christian. That constituted a crime of adultery and she was sentenced to receive 100 lashes.
The court also found her guilty of apostasy by converting to Christianity and sentencing her to be hanged.
The flogging and the death penalty were to be delayed until after she gave birth.
Ishag is considered Muslim by Sudan’s courts because her father was Muslim, though she raised by her Christian mother.
Wani and his brother, Gabriel Wani, grew up in Sudan but moved to New Hampshire. Gabriel told ABC News affiliate WMUR that Daniel has returned to Sudan to try and save his wife’s life.
“I’m just praying for God. He can do a miracle,” he said. “Everyone is depressed. You don’t believe it. It’s shock.”
“You cannot believe that’s going to happen,” Gabriel said. “It’s a good family, a happy family.”
Neither Gabriel nor Daniel could be reached for comment today by ABC News.
The U.S. condemned Sudan’s court ruling last week, with both the State Department and the White House calling on Sudan to uphold its human rights commitments.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who represents New Hampshire, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to grant Ishag political asylum.
The Sudan Tribune reported over the weekend that the country’s parliament speaker, al-Fatih Izz Al-Din, downplayed the death sentence and said it was only preliminary and could be appealed in the future
Sudan order to hang Christian woman for apostasy ‘outrageous’: UN
May 19, 2014 1:05 PM
Geneva (AFP) – UN rights experts voiced outrage Monday at a Sudanese court order to hang a heavily pregnant Christian woman for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her faith.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted last week under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and makes conversions of faith punishable by death.
“This outrageous conviction must be overturned and Ms. Ibrahim must be immediately released,” insisted the UN experts on a range of issues, including on the human rights situation in Sudan, violence against women, minorities and the freedom of religion or belief.
They stressed in a statement that under international law, “the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes, if at all.”
“Choosing and/or changing one’s religion is not a crime at all. On the contrary, it is a basic human right,” they said.
The young mother was found guilty of apostasy, or publicly renouncing Islam — a faith she never professed — and sentenced to hang after she refused to “return” to the Muslim religion.
Ishag, who was born to a Christian mother and Muslim father, was also sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery”, for living with the Christian man she has been married to since 2012.
Under Sudan’s interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.
The UN experts said that the right to marry and found a family was a fundamental human right, and voiced particular concern that the heavily pregnant Ishag was being held with her 20-month-old son in “harsh conditions” at the Omdurman’s Women Prison near Khartoum.”
The imposition and enforcement of the death penalty on pregnant women or recent mothers is inherently cruel and leads to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” they warned.
They called on Sudan to repeal all discriminatory laws, adding there was a “pressing need to address the pattern of discrimination, abuse and torture as well as the subjugation and denigration of women in the country.”
Sudan has an Islamist government but, other than floggings, extreme sharia law punishments have been rare.
If the death sentence is carried out, Ishag will be the first person executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British-based campaign group, said last week.