29 May 2014

Sudan: Juba in Talks With Khartoum Over Woman's Death Sentence

Photo: Gabriel Wani/Facebook
Wedding photo of Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani.

Juba — South Sudan said it was in talks with the government of neigbouring Sudan over the possibility to reversing a judicial ruling, which sentenced to death a Sudanese-born Christian woman married to a South Sudanese national.

Charles Manyang, the foreign affairs ministry's undersecretary said the government had approached Khartoum and that they expressed readiness to examine case, which saw 27-year old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim sentenced to death for marrying Daniel Wani.

"You know our relations with the government of Sudan have improved and now approach each other with respect and desire to share and discuss issues of mutual benefits and concerns. The case in point is that recently, through our embassy in Khartoum, we were able to approach Sudanese government over the decision of the court which sentenced a woman married to our one of citizens. And the response we got was positive", Manyang told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

"The authorities have expressed readiness to examine the case and see how it could be handled with mutual respect" he added.

WELCOME MOVE

Community Empowerment for Progress Organistation (CEPO) said it fully welcomes Juba's decision to enter into dialogue with Khartoum over Ibrahim's death sentence.

"This is really a human rights concern over the life of Meriam Yehya since it was her voluntary choice for taking the marriage decision. Juba must save her life", CEPO's executive director, Edmund Yakani told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

The 27-year old woman was convicted of apostasy and adultery on 11 May, with a Khartoum court sentencing her to death by hanging at a later hearing on 15 May after she refused to recant her faith and return to Islam. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for committing adultery as her 2012 marriage to Wani has been considered invalid under Sudan's Islamic Sharia laws.

Ibrahim, who was raised in Eastern Sudan's Gedarif state, was born to an Ethiopian Christian mother and a Sudanese Muslim father, who was largely absent from her childhood. She was arrested in 2013 after a relative reported her to authorities for adultery, with an additional charge of apostasy, brought against her in February after she asserted that she was not a Muslim.

The sentence has sparked international condemnation, with United State senators urging secretary John Kerry to personally intervene on Ibrahim's behalf and offer her political asylum.

The UK government has labelled the sentence "barbaric", while United Nations human rights experts described the conviction as "outrageous", saying the right to marry and start a family was a fundamental human right.

However, while the Sudanese population is predominantly Muslim, there is a Christian minority, particularly in its southern region.

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