Sudan to release woman facing death penalty for being Christian

A Sudanese official says that Meriam Ibrahim will be released from prison. She was raised a Christian by her mother but a court ruled earlier this month that she is Muslim because that was her father's faith. She was sentenced to death by hanging for renouncing Islam.

A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for "converting" to Christianity is expected to be released soon, a government official said on Saturday, after Khartoum came under diplomatic pressure to halt her execution.

"The related authorities in the country are working to release Mariam (Yahya Ibrahim), who was sentenced to death for apostasy, through legal measures," Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdelah Al-Azrak told Reuters.

"I expect her to be released soon," he added.

A Sudanese court this month imposed the death sentence on the pregnant 27-year-old woman, who is married to a Christian American.

Meriam Ibrahim was raised a Christian by her mother, but a court ruled earlier this month that she is Muslim because that was her father's faith. The court ruled that her Christian marriage was annulled and she was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for renouncing Islam.
The sentence caused a diplomatic incident, with Britain urging Sudan to uphold what it called its international obligations on freedom of religion..

British Prime Minister David Cameron told The Times that "The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today's world. Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right. "I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children.

Ibrahim's lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, said neither he nor the woman's husband had been notified about any release.

"But we do hope she will get released soon," Mostafa told Reuters.

Last week she gave birth in prison to a daughter, her second child by her American husband Daniel Wani.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdel Aziz in Khartoum; Writing by Yasmine Saleh in Cairo; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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