MERIAM Yahia Ibrahim, a Christian mother in late-term pregnancy, was sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery by the public order court in El Haj Yousif Khartoum, Sudan, on May 11.
Mrs Ibrahim was raised as an Orthodox Christian by her mother but because she has a Muslim father, she was charged with apostasy. Because Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, her marriage to a Christian man is not considered valid and she was, therefore, also charged with adultery.
Mrs Ibrahim's conviction is based on Shari'a law; however, the interim constitution in Sudan only references Shari'a law as a source of law – not as the basis of the constitution.
In fact, the interim constitution still provides for the right to freedom of religion or belief.
This renders her sentence not only a blatant violation of her fundamental human rights, but also illegal under the laws of her country. I would ask the people of Northern Ireland to do all in their power to bring pressure on the Government of Sudan to rectify this grave injustice.
REV PATRICK G BURKE
Honorary secretary Church
of Ireland Council for Mission