Meriam Ibrahim: Husband 'not informed of release'

Image source, Justice Center Sudan/
Image caption,
Khartoum has been facing international condemnation over Meriam Ibrahim's death sentence

The husband of a woman sentenced to death in Sudan for abandoning Islam has told the BBC he has not been informed that his wife will be released.

Reports on Saturday said a Sudanese official had confirmed that Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth in custody, would be freed in a few days.

But the foreign ministry said on Sunday Ms Ibrahim could only be released after a successful judicial appeal.

Her death sentence has sparked international outrage.

Ms Ibrahim was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a judge ruled last month that she should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father's faith.

She refused to renounce her Christianity and now faces hanging for apostasy.


Abdullahi al-Azreg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, told the BBC on Saturday that Ms Ibrahim, 27, would be freed because Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting her.

Media caption,
Daniel Wani said reports of his wife's release were "just like rumours"

But the foreign ministry said on Sunday issued a clarification, saying that only the judicial system could rule on the case.

"The defence team of the concerned citizen has appealed the verdict ... and if the appeals court rules in her favour, she will be released," the ministry said.

Ms Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani said he had only heard media reports about his wife's release, which he described as rumours.

"No Sudanese or foreign mediator contacted me. Maybe there are contacts between the Sudanese government and foreign sides that I'm not aware of," Mr Wani told Mohammad Osman, the BBC's correspondent in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

"As far as I'm concerned I will wait for the appeal which my lawyer submitted and I hope that my wife will be released."

Image caption,
Protesters in Khartoum called for the right to choose any religion last month

Last Wednesday, Ms Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter in her prison cell - the second child from her marriage in 2011 to Daniel Wani, a US citizen.

The court had said Ms Ibrahim would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence was carried out.

The court also annulled her Christian marriage and sentenced her to 100 lashes for adultery because the union was not considered valid under Islamic law.

In his interview with the BBC, Mr Wani said he was hoping to continue living in Sudan with his wife and children in the event of her release, but that that might be too difficult.

He also expressed his hope that the court would reconsider the verdict about the annulment of their marriage, which he confirmed he had also appealed against.

Sudan has a majority Muslim population and Islamic law has been in force there since the 1980s.

The ruling has revived a debate over apostasy, with liberal and conservative scholars giving different opinions over whether - and how - the act of abandoning the Islamic faith should be punished.