Woman Appeals Death Sentence for Apostasy, Brother Claims Evil Magic

Miryam Ibrahim

27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman, who was sentenced to death for refusing to revert to Islam from Christianity, appealed her death sentence on June 4, claiming the court that tried her committed “procedural errors.”

Ibrahim was sentenced to death on May 15 on grounds of apostasy because she converted from Islam to Christianity to marry her husband Daniel Wani. Despite her maintaining that her father abandoned her when she was a child and her mother brought her up as an Orthodox Christian, a court in Khartoum deemed it fit to punish her with death. Upon being sentenced, Ibrahim was sent to jail with her 18-year-old son Martin, where she gave birth to a daughter named Maya. Thereafter, her sentence was suspended for two years so she can nurse her newborn, after which her sentence is expected to be carried out. Now, Ibrahim’s lawyer Eman Abdul-Rahim is trying to have her sentence quashed at a higher court.

In the meanwhile, Ibrahim’s brother Al Samani Al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah, told authorities she was given a magic potion that caused her to leave Islam and convert to Christianity. He said that his sister was born Abrar Al Hadi but decided to change her faith after her husband Daniel Wani drugged her. In addition, Abdullah said Ibrahim deserves to die for leaving her devout family and refusing to return to them.

“It’s one of two; if she repents and returns to our Islamic faith and to the embrace of our family, then we are her family and she is ours. But if she refuses she should be executed… As we have been ordered by our Prophet, peace be upon him: 'He who barters his religion you must kill.’ The world should not involve itself in our family affairs. This is a family and these are our private affairs. We don’t want outside involvement,” he said.

Abdullah’s comments have led to widespread speculation that Ibrahim is the victim of a family feud. The American NGO that is bearing her legal costs claims that Ibrahim has been targeted by jealous relatives who want to take over her small but successful businesses, including a farm, a supermarket as well as a beauty salon.

Ibrahim has sworn not to renounce her faith in Christianity, irrespective of what penalty she has to face. Her death sentence has led to outrage across the world with eminent personalities like Hillary Clinton, David Cameron and Tony Blair calling for her release. While the Sudanese government has nullified reports claiming her release is imminent, president Omar al-Bashir said he is considering granting Ibrahim a presidential pardon.

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