02 Jun

Hope for death row mother

News that authorities in Sudan may free a woman who was sentenced to death for having abandoned the Islamic faith has been greatly welcomed by Pastor James McConnell and his congregation at Whitewell.

The case of Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth to a baby this week, was strongly highlighted in a sermon preached by Pastor McConnell a few weeks ago entitled “The sermon ministers will not be allowed to preach in the future”.

Since then Prime Minister, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Tony Blair and the Foreign Office have urged the Sudanese government to lift the ‘barbaric’ death sentence handed to the woman for marrying a Christian.

Abdullahi Alazreg, an undersecretary at the foreign ministry, said Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and IS committed to protecting women. It’s not clear yet, however, whether or not the woman is to be released, but things are certainly looking more positive for her.

Pastor McConnell said “This is great news and encourages me after I preached my sermon. While I realise my words were just snowflakes at the time, the avalanche of public support which has followed has been resounding”. The pastor added “I was very touched by the plight of this young mother and I felt something had to be said and I am delighted her story is being heard”.

Lots of people have been praying for Miriam with social media campaigns demanding her release. Amnesty International has also been pleading her case to the Sudanese authorities.

The Prime Minister stated his disapproval at her imprisonment and death sentence saying he was “absolutely appalled” when he heard about the plight of the 27-year-old. “The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today’s world” he said. “Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental right”.

Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, also described the case as a “brutal and sickening distortion of faith”.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister David Cameron has urged the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and care for the woman and her children. The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act.