Summary: SIHA condemns sentencing of pregnant woman to death for apostasy

SRT grantee the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) has strongly condemned the decision by a Sudanese court to sentence Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old pregnant Sudanese woman charged with apostasy and adultery, to 100 lashings and execution by hanging. SIHA has been publically and privately advocating on Meriam’s behalf since February.

Meriam will remain at Obdurman Women’s Prison along with her 20-month-old son until she gives birth to her new baby, which is due within a month. While in custody, Meriam has allegedly been denied regular contact with legal advisers, been refused medical care, and has suffered beatings, denial of food, and aggressive interrogations. The Sudanese Criminal Code mandates that Meriam be permitted to breastfeed her baby for two years; the flogging and execution will take place after this period. Meriam is thus facing another two years of prison along with her son, who has been forced by Sudanese officials to remain incarcerated with Meriam because Meriam’s husband is non-Muslim, and is therefore considered unsuitable to care for his child.

SIHA has called on human rights defenders, international institutions, and the media to demand Meriam’s immediate and unconditional release and the dropping of the charges of adultery and apostasy.

SIHA’s Regional Director, Hala Al-Karib, commented, “This is a dark and shameful day for Sudan’s justice system […] As women activists and rights defenders, SIHA supports Meriam’s courage and solid stance. Her honesty and integrity today has in many ways defeated her oppressors. Regardless of the next steps which will be taken, Meriam has exposed the weakness and the discriminatory nature of Sudan legal system and SIHA will continue to be an active participant in advocating on her behalf.”

Full statement from SIHA’s website:

Return to grantee stories