Essayah appeals for a persecuted Christian Sudanese woman

MEP Sari Essayah calls on the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs to appeal to the Sudanese authorities to reverse Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag’s death sentence.

Last week a sudanese court sentenced 27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for apostasy because she refused to recant her christian faith and convert to islam. Ms Ishag is eight months pregnant and has been held in custody with her 20-month-old son. Ishag’s father is a muslim and her mother is a christian. According to Ms Ishag, she has always been a christian.

According to the sharia law which has been in force in Sudan since 1983, Ms Ishag is a muslim according to her father’s religion and renouncing that faith amounts to apostasy which is punishable by death. Furthermore, in Sudan a muslim woman’s marriage to a non-muslim is regarded as adultery and is punishable by lashes.

Ms Essayah points out that Ms Ishag’s sentence is a flagrant violation of international human rights norms according to which the freedom of religion includes both the right to choose one’s religion and the right to be free from any coercion which impairs this right.