Rejoice: Christian Woman Sentenced to Death for Apostasy Freed From Prison

Posted: Jun 23, 2014 1:00 PM
Rejoice: Christian Woman Sentenced to Death for Apostasy Freed From Prison

No doubt today is a joyous one for Meriam Ibrahim and her young family, along with the countless human rights activists and government officials from across the globe who worked to bring her home. For months this young Christian mother languished -- and was chained down -- in a Sudanese prison with her infant child for apostasy. (She was pregnant at the time of her incarceration, too, and later delivered a second baby while in prison).

It didn’t matter that she was raised in a Christian home or that she herself was a disciple of Christ. These facts were completely irrelevant to her oppressors. Under Islamic Shariah law, her father was a Muslim and therefore she was too -- even though he abandoned her family when she was just a child. Nevertheless, when the authorities learned of her non-Islamic faith, her marriage to her Christian husband was annulled. She was was later sentenced to death and imprisoned upon refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

Of course, none of these details matter a whole lot at the moment. What matters is that at long last, Ibrahim is reunited with her family -- and finally free:

A Sudanese appeal court freed Meriam Yehia Ibrahim and canceled the death sentence she received after refusing to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said.

Ibrahim, 27, was released from jail today and is now with her husband, Daniel Wani, one of her lawyers, Elshareef Ali, said by phone from the capital, Khartoum.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging by a Sudanese court last month in a case that sparked condemnation from governments including the U.S. and U.K. as well as rights groups such as Amnesty International. Sudan’s government said it wouldn’t interfere in the decisions of the judiciary.

“This is a victory the Sudanese constitution and for freedom of faith in Sudan,” Ali said. “The court canceled all the decisions taken against her, including annulling the marriage and the adultery conviction. She is now free to go anywhere.”

Sudanese law prohibits executing pregnant women for two years after they give birth. This, human rights activists and family members ardently hoped, would give them enough time to appeal the sentence. As it turns out, they didn't need that long.

For Ibrahim, her many nights of anguish, grief and uncertainty are over. A broad coalition of humanitarians and government leaders have finally secured her deliverance. As a result, all who participated in that historic effort should rejoice and celebrate what they’ve accomplished.