Sudanese Christian still under death sentence for apostasy, more on the Lahore stoning case

June 2, 2014 • 6:37 am

Yesterday I posted a piece which, based on a report by the Israeli outlet Arutz Sheva 7, suggesting that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian doctor whose father was Muslim, had been exculpated from the crime of apostasy. She had been imprisoned with her new baby (and apparently still is), was sentenced to 100 lashes after the baby had aged a bit, and then was to be hanged when her child became two years old.  This sentence was imposed by applying sharia law.

My elation about her release was premature. As both Arutz Sheva and the South China Morning Post report, the rumors were just that—rumors and not news. Yet there was a firm basis for this rumor, a statement by a Sudanese official. From the SCMP:

Abdullah al-Azraq, a foreign ministry undersecretary, said earlier on Saturday that Ishag “will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice”.

Now he’s backed off:

But the foreign ministry said the release of the 27-year-old, who gave birth to a baby girl in prison on Tuesday, depended on whether a court accepted her defence team’s appeal request.

A ministry statement said Azraq actually told media on Saturday “that the defence team of the concerned citizen has appealed the verdict … and if the appeals court rules in her favour, she will be released”.

“Some media took what the undersecretary said out of context, changing the meaning of what he said,” Azraq said.

After Azraq’s comment on Saturday, Ishag’s husband, Daniel Wani, said he did not believe she would be freed.

Aretz Sheva adds:

Ishag’s husband, US citizen Daniel Wani, also denied that her release was imminent.

“No Sudanese or foreign mediator contacted me. Maybe there are contacts between the Sudanese government and foreign sides that I’m not aware of,” Wani told BBC. “As far as I’m concerned I will wait for the appeal which my lawyer submitted and I hope that my wife will be released.”

Manar Idriss, Sudan researcher for Amnesty International, reiterated that reports of a release remain unconfirmed.

“We’ve received no confirmation that Meriam is going to be released and the appeal court has yet to issue any such ruling confirming a release,” she said.

I’m hoping that this has already been worked out in advance, and the appeals court will set her free.  Until then, the lashing and hanging are still in the offing.

As for those misguided readers who claimed that we, or I, cared about this woman only because she was married to a U.S. citizen, or had a high-profile profession, you’re simply wrong. We singled her out simply because she came to our attention, and, in fact, this site has been consistently opposed to the marginalization and brutalization of Muslim women in the Middle East—all oppressed women, including the one stoned to death in front of Lahore’s High Court building last week.


And on the latter issue, a new report from CNN notes that when Farzana Parveen, 25, was stoned in an honour killing for marrying a man out of love rather than to satisfy her parents’ demands, the Pakistani police stood by and did nothing:

Pakistani police officers will be investigated because they didn’t intervene when a woman was publicly beaten to death with bricks, a court official said Friday.

. . . “I have also ordered that a case be filed against the police officers present at the crime scene,” Jillani said, because it appears the “cops helped the criminals by watching the crime as silent spectator.”

Her husband (more on him below) described the killing:

“We went to the court to seek justice [Parveen’s family filed kidnapping charges and also demanded money] to tell them what had happened. We were sitting there when all of a sudden they appeared,” he told GEO TV. “Someone fired shots in the air. My wife and I were sitting and then bricks were thrown, then a lady came and took Farzana away. …”

Police stood and watched and didn’t come to their aid, Iqbal said. He said the crowd killed his wife and her unborn child.

The “excuse” for inaction doesn’t wash:

Aamir Jalil Siddique, vice president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, told CNN, “We believe that this was an oversight on the part of the police — they were stationed there and did not do anything. We have security, Punjab police officers, at the high court 24 hours a day. The advocate general’s office, which is next door to the gate, has additional security.”

The issue is not black and white because Parveen’s husband, Mohammad Iqbal, admitted strangling his first wife six years ago so he could marry for love. New reports say that he served a mere year in jail for that.  He gets a year for wife murder, but his new wife is battered to death with bricks for merely falling in love. How fair is that?

Parveen is one of nearly 900 Pakistani woman killed for “honour” last year, while the UN estimates about 5,000 women are killed worldwide yearly for the same stupid code of honour. One rarely hears of a male killed in this way. 

Police have arrested four more people in the case. Perhaps, if convincted, they’ll get more than a year in jail.  

I still maintain that the U.S. government, fearful of Muslim wrath, has been cowardly in its failure to denounce Islamic oppression and mistreatment of women. According to CNN, the British Foreigh Secretary spoke out about this stoning:

Britsh Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “There is absolutely no honor in honor killings, and I urge the government of Pakistan to do all in its power to eradicate this barbaric practice.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear something like that from the lips of John Kerry?



31 thoughts on “Sudanese Christian still under death sentence for apostasy, more on the Lahore stoning case

  1. Even if Meriam Yahia Ibrahim is released there are far to many True Muslims who will be quite willing to carry out the original sentence. Her life is not worth a plug nickle. She and her husband need foreign sanctuary!

    1. I agree. Also it’s worth remembering that a “blasphemer” in Pakistan was recently shot in police custody, in the police station itself. So this is not even a case of “when she get out” she’ll be in mortal danger, she remains in mortal danger right now.

      1. As someone pointed out elsewhere on this page… Pakistan is being confused with Sudan. (Not that basic principles aren’t the same regarding treatment of apostates, blasphemers, etc.)

        1. I was aware, not confused. Which is why I said “in Pakistan.” Maybe I’m being a bit of an ignorant westerner in thinking the same thing might happen in the Sudan…but on the other hand, she had to give birth while chained up in her jail cell. Given that, I think I’m reasonably justified in thinking that the health and safety of prisoners is not a major concern of the Sudanese prison system.

  2. What a depressing situation. I remember feeling sorry for the husband at first. Then I found out a few days ago he murdered his first wife(a liberal-secular Pakistani alerted me to this). What a sick situation.

    The way things are going there, they should just rename the country “Misogynistan”.

  3. And to add to the sordid tales, we have this case where Pakistani police chopped off the left hands of two men with a butcher knife.

    Police claim they were trying to commit suicide (with razor blades!), medical staff claims the damage is not self-inflicted. (The staff did manage to reattach one hand, but the outcome is uncertain.)

    Their crime? They refused to confess after accusations of thievery.

    Now which rules says that you dismember people for theft? Tip: (AFAIK) not secular law.

    1. Refusing to confess? Why, I thought it was an automatic death penalty for that; AFTER the amputation, of course….

  4. THIS is what persecution of Christians looks like (not stupid ‘happy holiday’ issues).

    And when it comes to persecution, atheists everywhere are more than willing to support their human rights.

  5. I am having trouble finding any primary source or research documents (vs. news stories) on honor killings. The 5,000 number appears to come from the document cited below, but I am having trouble finding it. Anyone have a working link to it?

    United Nations. 2000. Civil and Political Rights, Including Questions of: Disappearances and Summary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Asma Jahangir: Submitted Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1999/35 (E/CN.4/2000/3). New York: Commission on Human Rights, United Nations.

  6. Once again, I must respectfully disagree with Prof. Coyne relative to the actions of the president and secretary of state. We don’t know what behind the scenes actions they are taking, e.g. quiet diplomacy, which are likely to be more effective then shouting from the rooftops. It may well be that the loud public reaction from the British Foreign Secretary is counterproductive. Until such time as the lady is released and has left the country (which hopefully will occur in the near future), we won’t know, nor should we know what the administration is doing (that’s what is meant by quiet diplomacy).

    1. …nor should we know, I suppose, exactly who orders indefinite imprisonment without trial, torture, assassination, fake vaccination programs, warrantless interception of communications, and maybe disappearance of whole planeloads of people. It might be counterproductive – for someone – if it were generally known.

    2. Two examples of where “quiet diplomacy didn’t work from my neck of the woods. Reagan and Thatcher’s quiet diplomacy towards apartheid South Africa, and former SA president Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy towards Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe saw that country’s economy get decimated by the thug.

        1. What makes you think that the British Foreign Secretary shouting from the rooftops will be more effective? Unless we are willing to back up the strong words with the threat of force, I don’t see them bringing success.

      1. What makes you think that the British Foreign Secretary shouting from the rooftops will be any more effective? In fact, unless you are prepared to back up the loud words with the threat of force, I don’t see them as being effective. Send in the Navy Seal’s hostage rescue team to extract her from Pakistan? Threaten to nuke Pakistan?

        1. Where did I claim that it was any more effective. I merely pointed out two examples from my experience where I live that quiet diplomacy didn’t work. What makes YOU think it will be any more effective than a strongly worded condemnation by as many civilised countries against this barbarism.
          Rightly or wrongly, to remain publically silent in the face of barbarism is seen by mdany as condoning it.
          Furthermore the US government could make a strong public statement condemning the incident while conducting quiet diplomacy behind the scenes, and thus not appear to be weak and vacilating.

  7. The Pakistani authorities are all too well aware of the Immams’ power to generate a howling mob of thousands in a matter of minutes- I’m sure they decided that the life of one “mere” woman was preferable to the possible days of riots, arson, killings, etc. had they intervened. Yes; they are cowards.

  8. Just to add to the murkinesss on the Pakistan case, the family of the dead woman are now claiming that it was Iqbal and his family who stoned the woman to death.
    Mad, the lot of them. Not in a good way.

  9. I wonder in what regard the killers/Islam hold the unborn child.

    I wonder what’s going on recently in this regard in Saudi Arabia.

  10. >>Wouldn’t it be nice to hear something like that from the lips of John Kerry?

    Kerry condemning Pakistan? That would be like the Pope condemning Jesus.

    Of the total aid that has been given by US to Pakistan – it would be interesting to know how much of it has been used in humanitarian activities and how much of it has been used to conduct terrorist activity in India.

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