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KHARTOUM - 23 Jun 2014

Convicted Christian woman released in Sudan

A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for abandoning her faith has been released from prison.

Maryam Yahya Ibrahim’s death penalty was overturned by an appeal court, the official Suna news agency reported. She was sentenced to hang for apostasy in May this year by a Sharia court after refusing to renounce Christianity.

Her husband told the BBC he was looking forward to seeing her. The death sentence for Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in prison, not long after she was convicted, sparked international outrage.

“We are very, very happy about this – and we’re going to her now,” Ibrahim’s lawyer El Sharif Ali told the BBC. “They have released her … she’s on her way home,” he said.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim, was raised by her Christian mother, after the father abandoned the family when she was six years old. By law, children must follow their father's religion. She married a Christian man from South Sudan in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims.

Maryam Ibrahim has been in jail since February, along with her 18-month-old young son, and since 27 May with her baby daughter.

President Omar Al Bashir has said his country will implement Islam more strictly now that non-Muslim South Sudan seceded. A number of Sudanese have been convicted of apostasy in recent years, but they all escaped execution by recanting their new faith.

Photo: Maryam Yahya Ibrahim (Al Fajer/AP)