'She's in shackles': Devastated American husband describes visiting his pregnant wife and their toddler on death row in Sudan where she awaits execution for marrying a Christian
- Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, 27, was sentenced to death last week for refusing to renounce her Christian faith in front of Sudanese court which considers her a Muslim
- She was also charged with adultery for marrying Christian Daniel Wani and sentenced to 100 lashes
- She told the Sudanese court: 'I was never a Muslim. I was raised a Christian from the start'
- Ishag is considered a Muslim by the court because her father was a Sudanese Muslim despite her being raised by a Christian mother
- She has been shackled at the legs in prison where she is being held with the couple's 20-month-old son Martin
- The couple's lawyer is working on an appeal to the 27-year-old's sentence amid mounting international pressure
- Mr Wani was born in war-torn Sudan but fled to the U.S. in 1998. He settled in Manchester, New Hampshire
A U.S. citizen, who rushed to his native Sudan to save his pregnant wife from the death sentence, described his horror at seeing her shackled in a prison cell.
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old doctor, was charged with adultery for marrying Christian Daniel Wani, a Sudanese man with U.S. citizenship who lives in New Hampshire.
She was sentenced to 100 lashes as the Sudanese court refuses to recognize her 2011 marriage to Mr Wani because they consider Ishag a Muslim.
The eight-months pregnant woman, who has a toddler son, was subsequently sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy. Sudanese law considers her a Muslim while she has declared that she was raised Christian and refuses to convert to Islam because it is the only religion she knows.
She told the court: 'I was never a Muslim. I was raised a Christian from the start.'
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Daniel Wani married wife Meriam in 2011. She was sentenced to death in Sudan last week because the court considers her Muslim and found her guilty of apostasy for converting to Christianity. Her husband, a U.S. citizen, has flown to Sudan, to try to save her life
Husband of Sudanese woman sentenced to death speaks out
Ishag is considered Muslim by the Sudanese court because her father was a Sudanese Muslim. However the woman was raised by her Ethiopian Christian mother after her father left them.She has been shackled at the legs in jail since the sentence was handed down, her husband said.Mr Wani, 33, was allowed to visit his wife for the first time on Monday where she is being held along with the couple's 20-month-old son Martin. The father is not allowed to care for Martin because he is a Christian and his son is considered a Muslim. Tina Ramirez, executive director of Hardwired, an American group which fights for religious freedom around the world, told Fox: 'He originally was not allowed to see her until this week. 'Once he was able to, she was shackled and her legs were swollen.'The couple's lawyer is working on an appeal to the 27-year-old's sentence amid mounting international pressure.The White House condemned the pregnant mother's treatment and urged the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law. A statement from several lawyers associated with the Sudanese high court also called for an appeal to the death sentence, which was a sign that the country's government was paying attention to the outcry, Ms Ramirez said.
Mr Wani and his wife Meriam who married in 2011.
The couple have a 20-month-old son Martin and the 27-year-old is due to
give birth to their second child in a matter of weeks. The Sudanese
court has allowed her give birth and nurse the child before they execute
The happy couple on their wedding day in 2011.
Mr Wani described on Monday seeing his pregnant wife shackled in a
Sudanese prison where she is being held on sentence of death
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was charged with
adultery for marrying Christian Daniel Wani, a Sudanese man with U.S.
citizenship living in New Hampshire
The death sentence has been put on hold until she has given birth and nurses her newborn.
Mr Wani now lives in Manchester with his brother Gabriel, who told WMUR that his sibling had returned home to do everything he could to save his wife.
'ABHORRENT VIOLATION': PRESSURE MOUNTS OVER PREGNANT MOTHER'S DEATH SENTENCE
New Hampshire's senators are working to save pregnant Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag from being executed.
Hampshire's Senator Kelly Ayotte and fellow Republican Senator Roy
Blunt of Missouri have written to Secretary of State John Kerry urging
him to grant the 27-year-old Sudanese woman political asylum.
Jeanne Shaheen, (Democrat-New Hampshire) called the death sentence an
'abhorrent violation of fundamental freedoms and universal rights'.
British government had expressed its anger to a senior Sudanese
diplomat over the pregnant mother's sentence and urged him to pressure
the government to overturn the ruling.
Gabriel Wani said: 'I’m just praying for God. He can do a miracle. Everyone is depressed. You don’t believe it. It’s shock.'
Wani said that his brother was at the family's home in Khartoum where
he was trying to work iwith the U.S. Embassy to appeal his wife's
Daniel Wani was in fear for his life, his brother said and believed he was being watched.
Wani married wife Meriam in a formal ceremony in 2011 and the couple
own several businesses including a farm close to the Sudanese capital,
Gabriel Wani told the Union Leader that he and his brother had come to the U.S. in 1998 to flee war-ravaged Sudan.
Wani has been a U.S. citizen since 2005 and last summer went to Sudan
to arrange for his wife and son to join him in New Hampshire.
MailOnline was awaiting a comment from the U.S. Department of State.
At last Thursday's sentencing, Judge Abbas al Khalifa asked the pregnant, mother-of-one whether she would return to Islam - but she refused.
She said: 'I am a Christian,' and the death sentence was handed down.
After the verdict her husband, Daniel Wani told CNN: 'I'm so frustrated. I don't know what to do. I'm just praying.'
A government spokesman said the ruling could be appealed in a higher court.
Gabriel Wani speaks on Friday in New Hampshire
about his sister-in-law Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, who is being
persecuted in Sudan for her religious beliefs
More than 50 protesters gathered outside the Sudanese court last week where Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to death
the court, around 50 people held up signs that read Freedom of Religion
while some Islamists celebrated the ruling, chanting: 'God is
7, Ishag was arrested in September with her 20-month-old son and put in
a women’s prison. It is thought a relative had turned her in to the
police for marrying a Christian.
According to the Sudan’s Public Order Criminal Code, she is a Muslim by default because she was born in Sudan.
Therefore, her marriage to a Christian is classed as a criminal act.
March 4, she was charged with adultery and apostasy. The adultery
charge came with a punishment of 100 lashes and the apostasy charge came
with a punishment of death
students have protested near Khartoum University in recent weeks asking
for an end to human rights abuses, more freedoms and better social and
economic conditions in the country.
The authorities decided on Sunday to close the university indefinitely.
embassies and Sudanese activists sharply condemned the accusations and
called on the Sudanese Islamist-led government to respect freedom of
'The details of this
case expose the regime's blatant interference in the personal life of
Sudanese citizens,' Sudan Change Now Movement, a youth group, said in a
Hassan al-Bashir's government is facing a huge economic and political
challenge after the 2011 secession of South Sudan, which was Sudan's
main source of oil.
decision by Bashir last year to cut subsidies and impose austerity
measures prompted violent protests in which dozens were killed and
hundreds were injured.
White House said that it strongly condemn the sentence and urged the
Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human
Under Sudanese law, Muslims who convert to other religions are sentenced to death. Muslim women in Sudan are banned from marrying non-Muslims but Muslim men can marry a woman of a different faith. Children are legally bound to follow their father's religion
Edited by JoliePoufiasse - May 20 2014 at 10:09am