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Sudan: Meriam Ibrahim released from death row

The Sudanese State News Agency, Suna, is reporting that Meriam Ibrahim has been released and the charges overturned.

Suna said: "The appeal court ordered the release of [Ibrahim] and the cancellation of the [earlier] court ruling."

She has been moved to a safe house, according to Mohaned Mostafa, a member of her legal team. He told Reuters: "Her family had been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her."

Sentenced to death

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim was sentenced to death in Khartoum on 11 May for 'apostasy' (converting to Christianity) as well as up to 100 lashes for committing adultery. She refused to renounce her Christian faith. According to reports, the judge told her: "We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death." Meriam calmly replied, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."

Following widespread outrage over the sentence, Abdullah Alazreg, a Sudanese foreign ministry under-secretary reportedly told the media that Meriam Ibrahim 'will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice'. But the Sudan foreign ministry later said that the release of the 27 year old depended on whether the court accepted an appeal request made by her defence team.

Now it appears that her appeal has been successful and that the judges agreed with her lawyers' claim about the weakness of the evidence and the fact that the case contravened Sudan's interim constitution.

Meriam has been in prison for over 140 days. During that time she gave birth to a daughter while shackled to the floor of her cell. Her son, Martin, has been in prison with his mother since her arrest.

Sudan is number 11 on the 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

 

Source: BBC; Guardian; Reuters

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