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Pregnant Sudanese woman sentenced to death for not recanting her Christian faith


Meriam Ibrahim is married, eight months pregnant, and the mother of an 18-month-old; on Thursday she was sentenced to death in Sudan.

Her lawyer, Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed, told The Associated Press that Ibrahim, 26, was convicted Sunday of "apostasy" for not recanting her Christian faith. In Sudan, the conversion of Muslims to other religions is punishable by death. Ibrahim's father was Muslim, but her mother — who raised her alone after her father left the family — was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia. Members of Ibrahim's father's family told authorities that she was born Muslim and given the name "Afdal" at birth; her lawyer says the document they produced to try to prove this is fake.

Ibrahim was given four days to renounce her religion, but refused. "I was never a Muslim," she said, according to the AP. "I was raised a Christian from the start."

The U.S. State Department is "deeply disturbed" by the sentencing, while Amnesty International calls it "abhorrent." Mohammed said the trial was flawed, and the judge refused to hear defense witnesses and ignored constitutional clauses on freedom of worship and equality. The judge also sentenced Ibrahim to 100 lashes for having sexual relations with her Christian husband, Daniel Wani, on the grounds that Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims.