Canada’s Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett, pictured, had issued a statement saying Canada “is shocked and appalled” by the sentence of the Christian mother who at the time was expecting her second child. Register file photo.

Canada’s bishops seek release of condemned Sudanese Christian woman

  • May 28, 2014

OTTAWA - Canada's Catholic bishops are pressing both the Canadian and Sudanese governments for the release of a Christian woman condemned to death for apostasy from Islam.

“It is with great shock and concern that I have become aware of the situation of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the Christian Sudanese mother recently sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ and to 100 lashes for ‘adultery,’ ” wrote the chairman of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ human rights committee, Bishop Francois Lapierre, in a May 28 letter to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. The bishop also sent a copy to Sudan’s embassy.

Lapierre asked the Canadian government to “do whatever is possible to urge the Sudanese government to release Ms. Ibrahim” and to respect its own interim constitution’s section 38 as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Sudan acceded to in 1986.

“The sentences passed against Ms. Ibrahim are neither just nor merciful, and are incompatible with the universal human rights Sudan has previously recognized,” the bishop wrote.

Lapierre wrote he echoed Canada’s Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett’s May 15 statement concerning Ibrahim. Bennett had issued a statement saying Canada “is shocked and appalled” by the sentence of the Christian mother who at the time was expecting her second child. The baby has since been born and the sentence is not likely to be carried out for another two years to give her an opportunity to nurse the baby.

“Canada calls upon the Government of Sudan to protect freedom of religion, including the right to change one’s faith or beliefs and to practise one’s faith in peace, a freedom that is enshrined in Sudan’s interim constitution of 2005,” Bennett said, urging Sudanese legal authorities to “demonstrate justice and compassion in the expected appeal” of the woman’s case.

Amnesty International has also been alerting the world to Ibrahim's plight.

She was convicted of adultery because of her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan, which Amnesty International said is void under Shariah law. She was told she would be spared the death sentence if she recanted her Christian faith.

Though Ibrahim’s father was Muslim, she was raised in her mother’s Orthodox Christian faith.

“Amnesty International believes that Meriam is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Idriss.

Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, is an American citizen. He told Fox News his wife would not recant her Christian faith.

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