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Woman sentenced to death for marrying Christian gives birth

FORBIDDEN MARRIAGE: Meriam Ibrahim has been sentenced to hang for marrying a Christian

A SUDANESE woman who is facing the death sentence after being found guilty of converting from Islam to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, has given birth to a baby girl in prison today (May 27).

Meriam Ibrahim has been in jail since February following a trial in an Islamic Shari’a court which found her guilty of leaving Islam.

Earlier this month, she was sentenced to death by hanging and 100 lashes for her offences and is due to be executed within the next two years.

According to the Mail Online, the 27-year-old gave birth five days early in the hospital wing at Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison in North Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

The baby girl is said to be in good health.

Speaking to the online news outlet, Ibrahim’s lawyer Mohaned Mustafa Elnour said his client and her husband Daniel plan to call their daughter ‘Maya’.

“This is some good news in what has been a terrible ordeal for Meriam. I am planning to visit her with her husband Daniel later today,” he said.

Ibrahim, a doctor, was arrested on February 17, 2014, after Sudanese authorities found out she had married a Christian man.

The court told the mother-of-two she had until May 15 to convert to Islam and spare her life, but she refused and the death sentence was upheld.

Mrs Ibrahim was born in Western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six and she was subsequently brought up as a Christian by her mother.

Although she is a life-long practising Christian, under Sudanese law, Ibrahim is considered a Muslim because her father is a Muslim.

Under Shari'a law in Sudan, Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men, so her marriage is considered to be invalid.

On March 4, she testified in court that she is a Christian, producing her marriage certificate, where she is classified as Christian, as proof of her religion.

Three potential witnesses from western Sudan, who went to the hearing to testify in defence of Ibrahim's life-long adherence to Christianity, were prevented from giving evidence.

According to strict interpretations of Shari'a law, apostasy from Islam is an offence punishable by death.

In an interview with the Mail Online, Daniel Ibrahim said his wife refuses to change her religion and told him: “If they want to execute me then they should go ahead and do it because I’m not going to change my faith. I refuse to change. I am not giving up Christianity just so that I can live.

“I know I could stay alive by becoming a Muslim and I would be able to look after our family, but I need to be true to myself.”

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