Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag is her name. Some stories have her first name spelled with an “e” as well, “Meriam.” She is 27 years old and currently 8 months pregnant with her second child. Her first child, a son, is 20 months old and currently at the prison with her, however I recently read that he is free to leave. Unfortunately, her husband, a Christian man, is bound to a wheel chair and completely depends on her to care for him. I am thinking her husband is unable to care for their nearly 2 year old son.
To give you a little background, Mariam was reportedly turned in to authorities by a family member whom stated she’d committed adultery in 2013 and she was arrested. According to strict Islamic law that Sudan’s Constitution follows, a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man. Considered by this law a Muslim woman, her marriage to a Christian man is void and adultery committed. Therefore, the sentence calls for 100 lashes before she is hanged. Outrageous! I know.
Hmm… but, is Mariam Muslim? Mariam’s father was Muslim (automatically making her a Muslim as well according to the Islamic law.) However, her father was absent most of her life and she was raised by her mother, a Christian. Upon hearings and given time to recant her Christian faith, Miriam denounced a Muslim identity and refused to separate from her Christian one. This is considered ‘Apostasy’ and under international human rights legal standards, neither should be considered crimes.
United Nations human rights experts have called on the Sudanese government to get rid of all laws that discriminate on the grounds of gender or religion and embark on a more inclusive reform of the justice system complying with international standards. These experts states that the right to marry and start a family is a fundamental human right of both women and men and that “the criminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults is a violation of their right to privacy under international human rights law.”
Mohamed Ghilan, an expert in Islamic law, told Al Jazeera, “Even in the context of war, women were historically excluded from punishment. Women could not be executed because of the vehement declaration of the prophet not to harm women.”
This past Thursday an attorney filed documents in the Appeals Court asking them to reverse the verdict by the lower court and free Mariam. Here in the United States, US Republican senator Frank Wolf has called on President Obama to personally intervene in the case and offer Miriam political asylum, saying “the clock is ticking.”
I will keep you updated on this story and ask that you sign petitions, share this and please keep Mariam, her husband, 20 month old son and unborn child in your prayers.