Long welcomes lifting of death sentence

Alliance MP Naomi Long has welcomed reports that a Sudanese citizen has been freed from her death sentence, which was handed down after she married a Christian.

The lawyer for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag reported today (Monday) that the woman had been released from her sentence of 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for apostasy. The charge was based on the false assumption that Mrs Ibrahim was a Muslim when she married her Christian husband, when she was in fact raised as a Christian.

It come in the wake of two letters from East Belfast MP Mrs Long to the Sudanese Ambassador, each co-signed by over 50 MPs, calling for her unconditional release. The letters were copied to the President of Sudan, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Minister for Africa, and followed an Early Day Motion tabled by Mrs Long on the matter.

“It is fantastic news that Mrs Ibrahim has been released and her family will be anxiously waiting for her to return home,” she said.

“But we must not allow it to overshadow the wider issue, that of freedom both of and from religion. They are international human rights that should be respected and followed. The Sudanese Government must also repeal the articles of its laws which currently classify adultery and apostasy as criminal acts.

“Sudan must take responsibility to ensure these situations no longer occur and that it becomes a modern, free state in all senses of the term, respecting international human rights norms for its citizens.

“Even today as we welcome this news, a Nigerian man has been sentenced to death for being an atheist. Such abuse of people’s right to choose and change their faith and beliefs freely has no place in any society.”


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