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U.S. Condemns Apostasy Death Sentence In Sudan

The United States strongly condemns the death sentence for apostasy handed down last week to a Sudanese Christian woman. The woman was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf called the sentences “deeply” disturbing.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag is nine months pregnant and is being held in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison with her 20-month-old son.

Meriam Ishag has stated that she is the daughter of a Christian mother and a Muslim father who left the family when Ms. Ishag was a young child. She was brought up a Christian and married a Christian man from South Sudan in 2012.

According to reports, Ms. Ishag was given an opportunity in court to recant her faith, and she refused to do so.

Sudanese parliament speaker Fathi Izz al-Deen has said the verdict against Ms. Ishag is not final and is in the hands of the judiciary. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Harf urged Sudanese legal authorities “to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people.”

In a statement from the White House, National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said, “We strongly condemn this sentence and urge the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law. We call on the Government of Sudan to respect Ms. Ishag’s right to freedom of religion, a universal human right enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Ms. Hayden noted that since 1999, the United States has designated Sudan a Country of Particular Concern, “for its ongoing, egregious, and systematic violations of religious freedom. We continue to urge Sudan,” she said, “to fulfill its constitutional promise of religious freedom, and to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.”

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