Conflicting reports over whether Sudanese sentenced to death for apostasy will be freed

Yesterday, a Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman said that the Sudanese woman condemned to death for apostasy would be freed "within days."

Voice of America:

Sudan's foreign ministry says a Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for identifying herself as a Christian will be freed "within days," following an international uproar over her conviction for apostasy.

Ministry spokesman Abdullah al-Azraq announced the development late Saturday in Khartoum, just days after the woman — 27-year-old Mariam Yahya Ibrahim — gave birth in prison while awaiting her execution.

Ibrahim is also the mother of a 20-month-old son. Both children are incarcerated with their mother.

But today, there are indications that either the government changed its mind, or the ministry spokesman was in error.

Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson denied statement attributed to its undersecretary Abdallah Alazrak saying that a woman sentenced to death for apostasy would be released in few days.

A recent picture for Mariam Ibrahim from her prison publishde by Al-Sudani newspaper showing her after the birth of her daughter, and her son.

In a statement to CNN, Abu Bakr al-Sideeg al-Amin, said he is unaware of any plans to release Meriam Ibrahim "before a ruling from an appeals court".

Alazrak who is was speaking from London stated to the BBC and Reuters that the Sudanese authorities are working to free Ibrahim soon.

The Guardian is reporting that Meriam's lawyer is dubious of the claim that his client may soon be freed:

A lawyer for Meriam Ibrahim has expressed scepticism that the Sudanese mother will be freed from death row in the next few days, saying only a court could authorise her release – not government officials.

Elshareef Ali Mohammed told the Guardian: "Nothing has changed. Meriam is still in prison. This was a political statement made under pressure from an international campaign."

Abdullah Alazreg, an official with the Sudanese foreign ministry, told the BBC on Saturday that Ibrahim's release was imminent. "The related authorities are working to release Meriam through legal measures. I expect her to be released soon," he was reported as saying.

Ibrahim's lawyers have lodged an appeal against her convictions for adultery and apostasy, but Elshareef said the court had claimed the documentation was incomplete. Human rights organisations have said they expect the normally slow appeals procedure to be expedited in Ibrahim's case because of international pressure.

It seems pretty clear that the Sudanese government is looking for a "out" as far as getting rid of this issue. Whether it be through the courts or some other process, such as a pardon, the country is far too dependent on international aid to risk offending their benefactors with this barbaric sentence.

Her husband,. an American, is not aware of any imminent release of his wife either, although he knows that other countries are working to achieve that goal. The foreign ministry spokesman may have jumped the gun as far as Meriam's release, but its is devoutly hoped that it's in the works.


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