KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNS) — The Archdiocese of Khartoum has urged the judiciary to review the case against a Catholic woman who refused to renounce her faith and has been sentenced to death by hanging.
Meriam Ibrahim, 26, joined the Catholic Church shortly before she married U.S. citizen Daniel Bicensio Wani in December 2011, said a mid-June statement signed by Father Mussa Timothy Kacho, episcopal vicar for Khartoum.
She was convicted of apostasy by a court in Khartoum in mid-May for marrying a Christian. Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, which is punishable by death.
Her Sudanese Muslim father abandoned the family when she was 5, and she was raised according to her mother’s faith, the statement said, noting that Ibrahim’s mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia.
“She has never been a Muslim in her life,” the archdiocese said.
Ibrahim is on death row in Omdurman prison, nursing her baby while in chains, the statement said. Her case is under appeal and “no one knows when the appeal court will decide on it,” it said.
“There are many people trying to persuade Meriam to renounce Christianity in order to be freed, but she is refusing. Some people are pleading with her husband to convince her to abandon Christian faith in order to save her life, but to no avail,” the archdiocese said.
“The Catholic Church — Archdiocese of Khartoum — expresses deep regret over the way the case is being handled in the court,” with disregard of “Meriam’s moral and religious beliefs,” it said.
“We are pleading with the judiciary and other concerned authorities to review the case … and to bring it to a reasonable end,” it said.
In a May joint statement, Sudan’s churches said the charges against Ibrahim are false and appealed to the Sudanese government to free her from prison.
She gave birth to a daughter in late May and her 1-year-old son is also in prison with her. Sudanese officials will not allow Wani, who lives in New Hampshire, to take custody of their son because, by law, a Christian man cannot raise a Muslim child.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103