US Lawmakers Pressure Obama Administration to Grant Asylum to Christian Sudanese Mom Sentenced to Death

By | May 24, 2014 10:49 AM EDT
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Meriam Yehya Ibrahim

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the 27-year-old pregnant Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for being a Christian, together with her American husband Daniel Wani.(Photo : Gabriel Wani / Facebook)

Lawmakers in the US are calling on the Obama team to provide asylum to a pregnant Sudanese wife of an American citizen after she was sentenced to death for upholding her Christian faith.


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Meriam Yehya Ibrahim has been imprisoned with her 20-month-old son for over three months because she refused to recant her Christianity. Last week, a Khartoum judge stirred international condemnation by sentencing the 27-year-old mom to death by hanging after giving birth and nursing her baby for two years, wrote Fox News.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Marco Rubio said he was shocked with the "inhumane verdict" given to Ibrahim. GOP senators Roy Blunt and Kelly Ayotte have already sent two letters to the White House requesting for "immediate action" and political asylum for Ibrahim and her child.

On Wednesday, four senators filed a resolution condemning the death sentence and urging Sudan to respect their people's religious freedom in order to restore their ties with the US or reduce their economic sanctions. Republican Jim Inhofe and Democrats Chris Coons and Bob Menendez co-sponsored the said resolution.

Ibrahim was raised as a Christian when her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was still a child and has now been charged by the Sudanese court has charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam. In some Muslim countries, this crime has a corresponding death penalty.

Ibrahim was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes after she gives birth, for adultery, for having relations with her Christian husband. Her lawyers said the eight-months-pregnant woman is chained by her feet in jail.

Jen Psaki, the State Department's spokesperson, said the Obama team is doing their best on Ibrahim's case.

Daniel Wani, Ibrahim's husband, is confined to a wheelchair and is fully dependent on his wife for everything, the lawyer explained. Wani said he called the US Embassy in Khartoum before the death sentence, but the embassy showed no interest in their problem.

After stating that his son was an American citizen, he was asked to present DNA evidence. He conceded and provided their wedding documents and his son's birth certificates as additional evidence, but Wani said the embassy still did not offer any help.

Ibrahim's case is being further complicated by political forces in her country. According to Sudanese Parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen, it is not true that Ibrahim was raised as a non-Muslim and added that it was her Muslim brother who filed the complaint against her.

Sudan is now being subjected to international pressure to release the pregnant Christian woman. An online petition launched by Amnesty International has already gathered more than 600,000 signatures for Ibrahim.

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