There is some good news on this lovely summer morning (well, it feel like summer, with temperatures in the 80s in Chicago).
On May 16 I reported the sentencing to death for apostasy of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a doctor living in a Muslim country. She had married a Christian man and was raised as a Christian by a Christian mother, but, as her father was Muslim, that apparently constitutes apostasy under Sudanese (sharia) law. She was also eight months pregnant. The sentence included 100 lashes “after she had recovered from giving birth,” and then hanging when her child was two years old. This, of course, is barbarism, an offense to every rational person.
Thus I’m delighted to report that, according to Arutz Sheva 7 from Israel, Ibrahim is to be freed:
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was condemned to death on May 15 under the Islamic Sharia law that has been in place in Sudan since 1983 and which outlaws conversions under pain of death.
“The lady will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice,” Abdullah al-Azraq, a foreign ministry undersecretary, told AFP.
Azraq, who spoke via telephone from London, did not elaborate.
The 27-year-old gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday in a women’s prison in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.
Her husband, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani, visited Ishag and the baby on Thursday, after being denied access earlier in the week, and told AFPboth were in “good health.”
There’s little doubt that this reversal of barbarism was due to international pressure:
Her case sparked international condemnation, with British Prime Minister David Cameron saying Saturday he was “appalled” by the “barbaric” sentence given to Ishag.
Britain and Canada had summoned the Sudanese envoys to their countries last week and told them the sentence violated Sudan’s international human rights obligations.
United Nations experts have called the conviction “outrageous” and said it must be overturned.
Sudan, while defending the verdict, had earlier hinted that Ishag might be freed, saying on May 18 the verdict was “preliminary”.
Fox News added this on May 23:
International pressure is mounting on Sudan to release Ibrahim, including an online petition by Amnesty International that has over 600,000 signatures.
The U.S. response appears to have been tepid, and I don’t recall President Obama saying anything about the case, although it’s reported that Ibrahim’s husband is an American citizen. Fox adds:
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that the administration is doing what it can on the case.
“Through our U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, the White House and the State Department have communicated our strong concern to the highest levels of the Government of Sudan over this case,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We’ve also joined with other embassies in Khartoum to express our concern in a widely distributed public statement. U.S. Embassy officials have been engaged in the case from the earliest days.”
Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani is confined to a wheelchair and “totally depends on her for all details of his life,” her lawyer said. Wani said when he called the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum in April prior to his wife’s death sentence, there was no interest in the case. He said he emphasized that his son was a U.S. citizen, by virtue of his own citizenship, embassy officials demanded DNA evidence. Wani said he agreed and even provided official wedding documents and birth certificates, but that the embassy still offered no help.
If this is true, Obama’s lack of a statement can be construed as fear of offending Muslims. At any rate, it’s shameful that the U.S. didn’t join Canada and Britain in the very strong gesture of summoning the Sudanese ambassador for a dressing-down.