Lawyer's doubts over Meriam 'release' announcement

Jun 1, 2014

'We'll believe it when we see it', says legal team defending Meriam Ibrahim against apostasy charge

Photo take from Twitter

Meriam Ibrahim, the woman sentenced to death for apostasy, is to be freed within days, says a Sudanese official. But lawyers for the 27-year-old have doubts over whether the release will take place.

“It’s a statement to silence the international media,” said lawyer Elshareef Ali Mohammed. “This is what the government does. We will not believe that she is being freed until she walks out of the prison."

The lawyer said a release announcement would normally come from the appeal court. In this case it came from a ministry of foreign affairs official, who was reportedly in the UK on medical leave when he made the announcement.

Ibrahim was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a Sudanese judge ruled last month that she should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father's faith. She refused to renounce her Christian faith and was sentenced to death by hanging.

International condemnation over Ibrahim’s death sentence has been steadily growing. This week, she gave birth to a baby daughter while chained to the floor of her prison cell.

Political leaders, including David Cameron and Bill Clinton have called for her release. The United Nations and a number of American senators have  joined the chorus of condemnation.

A grassroots campaign on Twitter has also increased the pressure on the Sudanese government of president Omar al-Bashir. 

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