Washington DC – Human Rights First today welcomed news reports that Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese woman who was given a death sentence in Sudan on charges of apostasy for marrying a Christian, is in route to the United States where she will be granted legal asylum. Following the news of her case, New Hampshire Senators Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D) introduced legislation to grant U.S. legal status to Ibrahim.
“The leadership of Senators Ayotte and Shaheen has made it possible for Ibrahim and her family to pursue a new life in safety and freedom,” said Human Rights First’s Robyn Lieberman. “Their commitment to protecting Ibrahim and her family reflect the United States’ proud history as a beacon of hope for those fleeing religious and other forms of persecution and violence.”
Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy and adultery due to her marriage to a Christian man, despite her own Christian faith. Under the Sudanese government’s interpretation of Sharia law, Ibrahim was considered a Muslim and therefore could not marry a Christian. Following international pressure from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Germany, Ibrahim’s sentence was vacated by the Court of Cassation, which ordered her release. She then escaped to Italy, where she met with Pope Francis, and is travelling to join her husband and two children who reside in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Human Rights First continues to call on the Sudanese government to revise its regulation of marriage and the law on apostasy that are out of sync with international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a party.
For more information or to speak with Lieberman, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at [email protected] or 202-370-3323.