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Death row Sudanese Christian 'apostate' freed: lawyer

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd June 2014 08:27 PM

A Sudanese Christian who gave birth in prison after being sentenced to hang for apostasy was freed on Monday, one of her lawyers said.

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KHARTOUM - A Sudanese Christian who gave birth in prison after being sentenced to hang for apostasy was freed on Monday, one of her lawyers said.

The case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag sparked an outcry from Western governments and rights groups after a judge sentenced her to death on May 15.

"Meriam was released just about an hour ago," Mohanad Mustafa told AFP on Monday afternoon.

"She's now out of prison," he said, but authorities will not issue the reasons for her release until Tuesday.

Born to a Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ishag was convicted under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

Twelve days after the verdict, Ishag gave birth to a daughter at the women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman.

And a few days later, Ishag's husband, Daniel Wani, told AFP he did not believe she would be freed.

The couple's 20-month-old son was also incarcerated with Ishag and their daughter.

European Union leaders called for revocation of the "inhumane verdict," while US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Khartoum to repeal its laws banning Muslims from converting.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the way she had been treated was "barbaric and has no place in today's world".

Mustafa and four other human rights lawyers handling her case for free had appealed the verdict but word of her release was unexpected.

Earlier Monday Mustafa had said he still had no idea when the appeal court might render a verdict.

"It's great," a church source said of her release, after last week expressing optimism that she would be freed because of international pressure on Sudan.

AFP

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