After a great deal of sustained international outcry, a 27-year-old Sudanese woman was freed on Monday after being sentenced to death for converting to Christianity from Islam.
The decision to free Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, who is married to an American Christian, was first announced by her lawyer Monday, and then confirmed by a state news agency.
Ibrahim’s release was ordered by a Sudanese court, which also overturned the earlier court ruling, according to The Globe and Mail.
“The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the cancellation of the [previous] court ruling,” the Sudanese SUNA news agency said.
Ibrahim has already been released, according to her lawyer Mohaned Mostafa. She was sent “to an unknown house to stay at for her protection and security,” according to Mostafa.
Ibrahim was moved to the undisclosed location because the family had received threats.
“Her family had been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her,” Mostafa said to Reuters.
Ibrahim was reunited with her wheelchair-bound husband after her release, Mostafai said.
When Ibrahim was convicted in May, she was eight months pregnant. She was sentenced to 100 lashes and was to be hanged for her alleged apostasy. The court that convicted her ordered her to renounce her Christian faith by May 15, but Ibrahim refused.
The initial judgment against Ibrahim was found faulty, according to Mostafa. He declined to elaborate.
The conviction was based on the fact that Ibrahim’s father, who left her family when she was just 6 years old, was a Muslim.
Her mother raised her as a Christian and she married Daniel Wani, a Christian, but the marriage was considered invalid because of her father’s faith, according to Time.
Some, however, maintain that she was indeed raised Muslim.
Sudanese Parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen said she was raised in an Islamic environment and her Muslim brother filed the complaint against her, according to CNN.
During her stay in the Sudanese prison, Ibrahim gave birth, reportedly with her legs still bound in shackles. In addition, her 20-month-old son was in prison with her.
Ibrahim’s case garnered a great deal of high-profile international attention from individuals and groups.
Requests for release were made by Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron, among others. The embassies of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in Khartoum also condemned the sentence.
UPDATE 6/24/2014: Ibrahim was reportedly re-arrested just one day after her release.
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