A Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for allegedly abandoning the Muslim faith will be freed within days, a senior foreign ministry official told the BBC on Saturday.
Abdullahi Alzareg, an undersecretary at Sudan’s foreign ministry, said his country was committed to protecting religious freedom and and would protect the woman.
Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted on May 11 of apostasy for marrying a Christian and sentenced to hang for abandoning the Muslim faith.
Ibrahim, 27, was eight months pregnant at the time. She gave birth to Maya, a baby girl, this week while in chains in the hospital wing of Omdurman Women’s Prison.
Her husband has said that Ibrahim identifies as a Christian and was never Muslim, and therefore could not have abandoned the faith.
Under sharia law, which has has been in force in Sudan since 1983, conversions are punishable by death.
Her Christian marriage was annulled and she was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for renouncing Islam.
Sex outside a “lawful relationship” is regarded as adultery under Sudanese law.
News of her impending release came as British Prime Minister David Cameron and former PM Tony Blair urged Sudan’s government to commute the death sentence.
Speaking to “The Times” newspaper on Saturday, Cameron said the treatment of Ibrahim “is barbaric and has no place in today’s world”.
Blair described the case as a “brutal and sickening distortion of faith”.
Western embassies and human right activists had condemned what they said were human rights abuses and called on the Sudanese Islamist-led government to respect freedom of faith.
“We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs,” the embassies of the United States, Canada, Britain and the Netherlands said in a joint statement.
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