Death penalty for a prisoner of conscience – the Meriam Yehya Ibrahim case

Times are indeed changing and at times in ways we just cannot fathom. A heavily pregnant woman was forcibly removed with her toddler from her husband -based on the fact that she was married to a Christian and denounced her origin religion, Islam. As I write this she is in the midst of common criminals awaiting her death sentence!

Background Information

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was arrested and charged with ‘adultery’ in August 2013 after a family member reportedly claimed that she was committing adultery because of her marriage to a Christian South Sudanese man. Under Shari’a law, as practised in Sudan, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man and any such marriage is considered ‘adultery’. The court added the charge of ‘apostasy’ in February 2014 when Meriam asserted that she was a Christian and not a Muslim. According to Meriam, she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood.

Now, Meriam is being held in detention with her 20-month-old son. She is expecting her second child next month. She needs medical care and the support of her family, but if her conditions don’t change she will give birth in prison.

Sudan won’t hang Meriam while she is pregnant. The Criminal Code states that she must give birth first, and nurse her child for two years before her execution can go ahead. If Sudan does execute Meriam after this period, they will leave two young children motherless, as well as taking away Meriam’s right to life.

No date for her execution has yet been announced.

100 lashes for marrying a Christian

Meriam was first arrested in August last year because her husband is Christian. Under Sudan’s Sharia law, marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is illegal, and constitutes adultery.

One of her relatives had claimed that Meriam was committing ‘adultery’ for marrying outside of Islam, and reported her to authorities. But Meriam identifies as Christian – while her father is Muslim, he was absent during her childhood and she was raised Orthodox Christian by her mother.

On 15 May, the court ruled that the allegations of ‘adultery’ stood, and agreed that Meriam should face 100 lashes for being married to a Christian.

Flogging constitutes torture, and should never be used as a punishment. Moreover, ‘adultery’ is not a crime that should be punishable by the courts.

The Sudanese Criminal Code formally includes Shari’a law, including Article 126, which states that “(1) Whoever propagates the renunciation of Islam or publicly renounces it by explicit words or an act of definitive indication is said to commit the offence of Riddah (apostasy). (2) Whoever commits apostasy shall be asked to repent within a period decided by the court and if he insisted on his apostasy and was not a new convert he shall be punished with death. (3) Punishment for apostasy lapses if the apostate refrained from apostasy before the execution”. Article 146 on the ‘Penalty for Adultery’ states that “(1) Whoever commits the offence of adultery shall be punished with: (a) execution, by lapidation [stoning], where the offender is married; (b) one hundred lashes, where the offender is not married.”

There have been no known cases of people executed for ‘apostasy’ in Sudan since the 1991 Criminal Code was enacted, but many have had their charges dropped or convictions overturned after recanting their faith.


Source 1
Source 2

Amnesty UK have received tremendous support and we can only keep the momentum going, below are the details to contact specific government officials within the Sudanese administration directly as I have done:

Minister of Justice
Mohamed Bushara Dousa
Ministry of Justice,
PO Box 302 Al Nil Avenue
Khartoum
Sudan
Email: moj@moj.gov.sd
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ali Ahmed Karti
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box: 302, Republic Street
Khartoum
Sudan
Fax: 00249 183 772941
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Minister of Interior
Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed
Ministry of Interior, PO Box 873
Email: mut@isoc.sd

Also copies should be forwarded to:

His Excellency Mr Abdullahi Hamad Ali El Azreg, Embassy of the Republic of Sudan, 3 Cleveland Row, St James’s, London, SW1A 1DD
Fax: 020 7839 7560
Tel: 020 7839 8080
Email: http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk (Contact form on website) / admin@sudan-embassy.co.uk

The email address for the Sudanese embassy is permanently down so I copied their Media Counsellor Dr. Khalid Al Mubarak (only email available on official website): khalid.mustafa@sudan-embassy.co.uk

My email to the Minister of Justice:

Subject: Release of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim

Your Excellency,

I write in relation to Meriam Yehya Ibrahim.

We are all human beings first and as a fellow human being I ask you to look upon Mrs Ibrahim with compassion.

Religion should never be a used as a weapon of destruction but rather as a mechanism for peace – from my understanding Islam translates to ‘peace’. If the name of your religion is in actuality a symbol of peace then the actions planned against Mrs Ibrahim disrupt this notion and go against the true meaning of the very same religion you believe should be upheld.

The world respectfully pleads with you to release this innocent woman – as a human being we have the right to select a faith in which we are spiritually fulfilled. You cannot justify your actions toward Mrs Ibrahim as protecting Islam due to the simple fact that religion should never interfere with one’s free will.

Please release Mrs Ibrahim
to her husband – allow her to be the wife and mother God in heaven has called her to be.

We urge the authorities to ensure that Mrs Ibrahim is released immediately and unconditionally because she is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity;

We urge the authorities to repeal Articles 126 and 146 that criminalise apostasy and adultery respectively, in conformity with Sudan’s obligations under international human rights law;

We urge the authorities to establish a moratorium on executions, as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty, and to abolish the punishment of flogging.

I do hope the peace Islam that has been enshrined in you over the years will release a wave of compassion and see to the release of Mrs Ibrahim.

Yours sincerely,

Victoria I.

Or you can send a template appeal via Amnesty Uk here: Amnesty International UK STOP EXECUTION OF PREGNANT MOTHER IN SUDAN

Let us make a difference – spread the word! It only takes a click…

Our Voice…27 days later

• It is amazing that the world has united 27 days later

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•It is amazing that our government respect the voice of outsiders and not our own

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• It is amazing that acts of terrorism have taken place by a group with Al’Qaeda links – America, France and the UK deem it fit to send glorified advisors to Nigeria…their reactions especially America to the conflicts in Mali, Libya, Afghanistan and Somalia certainly differ…

• It is amazing that America and a number of powerful Western and Asian nations benefit substantially from our crude oil and gas resources and have lived amongst us for years and counting – they owe us!

A few of the multibillion companies established in Nigeria listed below:

~Chevron (America)
~Addax Petroleum (China)
~Conoco Philips (America)
~Shell (The Netherlands/UK)
~Total (France)
~ExxonMobil (America)
~Nexen Inc (Canada)
~Statoil (Norway)
~Hardy Oil and Gas (UK)

Nigeria threatens new laws to punish oil companies – oil spillage

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• It is amazing that our President has within all this turmoil avoided directly speaking to the nation – interviews here and there only add to the speculation surrounding the missing girls

• It is amazing that we continue to defend a system that fails to defend us

• It is amazing that we are not No1 priority of the Nigerian government

• It is amazing that we are yet to see one photograph of the missing – its is vital for photographs to be circulated
Publish names, photographs of missing Chibok girls – South-East Governors tell FG

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• It is amazing that our government has failed us by way of not investing in our security defences

• It is amazing that our country Nigeria receives abundant amounts of Foreign direct investment and wilfully accepted $5.5 billion in 2013…but still nothing for the people!

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Source – NY Times

Also read: Nigeria: The Worst And Most Inhuman Subsidy!

• It is amazing that we are top crude oil producers in Africa – but the people do not reap the results…

I do hope it is not amazing that we are terribly amazed.

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Our missing Daughters – Nigeria where art thou?

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I do not usually discuss world events on my blog but I am just urged to do so now. Just over two weeks ago an estimated 234 school girls were kidnapped from their boarding school based in Borno State (Northern Nigeria). Read more here: Nigeria’s missing school girls

Yes we are aware that such events have happened some time or the other around the world – but the issue for us Nigerians is the government’s lack of activity and the conventional disregard for the people.

The recent incident concerning the tragic loss of Boeing MH370 – the Malaysian government held conferences daily, kept their people and the world informed – highlighted major and minor changes – kept all abreast with any new strategies even down to announcing other countries who had joined the search operation in hopes of finding the missing plane. I only use them as an example to demonstrate their dedication to the people and the situation the country faced

Now let us compare to Nigeria:

1) No formal statement from the government re: missing girls (only denials on actual number of girls missing) – even if it is indeed just 85 girls is that not enough reason to be as proactive as ever especially in light of the seriousness of the suspected terrorist group involved

2) No visible activity on part of the government to locate girls

3) Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan thought it wise to enjoy MayDay festivities instead of using event as a platform to address the nation on pressing current issues (GEJ all smiles amidst crises – As reported on Bella Naija) – I am certain the Malaysian President’s schedule was filled with ‘entertaining events’ to attend during the search of the missing plane – but did he dare attend… NO… Why? Respect for the people
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This image shocked many Nigerians, check out some of the comments in response to Bella Naija’s report below:

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4) The government have not reached out to the distraught mothers of the missing girls – comforted them and given them as citizens of the nation the time of day. Instead our women are made to protest in the streets screaming for their voices to be heard like dissenters – this is terribly disheartening.

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5) There is no mention of Nigeria requesting for the assistance of neighbouring states – we are obviously not in the position to handle this alone. The UK press thought it wise to inform their own citizens regarding upcoming visit of Gordon Brown (former UK prime minister ) to Nigeria to discuss military aid Gordon Brown to Visit Nigeria . Is this a secret? The Nigerian government have failed to communicate this to us – I am very sure that many Nigerians are unaware of this crucial meeting due to take place next week. This would indeed ease the mind of many – but again the Nigerian government are not concerned with the common man or woman and prefer for other news agencies around the world to address their nation on their behalf

6) We have no circulating images of these girls – they are confirmed as MISSING and the aim is to find them by any means possible be it through police/army intervention or a member of the public spotting them. Without images (which can be obtained from family of the girls) our girls can be moved across borders without border officials knowing who and what to look out for (Girls kidnapped late at night so I doubt they were in their school uniforms)

7) The Nigerian government are very comfortable allowing outside news agencies control the spin of an issue they should be ahead of. The outside world should feed of the information released by the Nigerian government and not the other way round – this is a very indifferent, nonchalant means of governing a country

6) The facebook page of the president Goodluck Jonathan displays nothing. His last post on 20th April centred around Easter and included a very cryptic message;

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The comment above is evasive – Easter day arrived on 20th April and our girls went missing on 14th April so why did he choose to avoid discussing the matter at hand and leave such a blasé message – note that on his page he has discussed the most trivial of matters in detail in the past!

What security service?

Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook page

7) The Nigerian government may be of the belief that their activities are covert ones- but they need to remember covert operations and keeping a nation sane go hand in hand and either side cannot be neglected. If indeed covert operations are in place – we are not asking for every detail of the plan, just let us know something is in the works – keep our minds at rest…

Actions for the Nigerian government

A) The Nigerian government must maintain an open dialogue with the people – we as a nation deserve it

B) Create a safe haven for the women, gather them together so at least they have each other as comfort and at the same time keep them constantly updated about the present situation and initiatives as they arise

C) Honestly update the nation as to the government’s position – timescales – has contact been made with – what should we expect – actions we should take – helpline number for citizens to call if they notice anything suspicious – images posted of suspected kidnappers (if any) or the kidnapped…

D) The government should create an awareness campaign – informing the nation at large specifically boarding schools and day schools in the affected vicinity and at large on vital steps to ensure their school children are safe – activities to look out for and report – the need for heightened security or even a temporary suspension of boarding facilities for schools in the North of Nigeria till the pressing issue is rectified

E) The Government should remove all manner of pride and openly inform us of their requests (if any) to other nations for help. This in itself may rock the boat of suspected terrorists – the government need to open up to the people – open your borders for necessary military assistance not just business opportunities. Make it known to the world that we as a nation require skilled assistance – we will not be ridiculed by the world for seeking third party intervention

It is common knowledge that the needs of the people of Nigeria – have always been placed on the back-burner to roast till it turns to ashes and is then briskly swept under the carpet – but there has to be a breaking point and I think this is it…listen to us…fight for us…lead a nation who will eventually support their government and not always remain in timeless
opposition

Please bring our girls home – we urge the government to be proactive and save our princesses

Check links below:

Bring our Girls Home – Change.com Petition

White House Petition

BBC coverage

Huffington Post Coverage

CNN coverage

Hashtags for social media: #BringBackOurGirls #BringBackOurDaughters #BringOurGirlsBack #NigerianSchoolgirls

(join in the social media fight to force the Nigerian government to simply care and take responsibility for us)

“The chicken is king in his nest: as the Lion is king of his Jungle…”

Be bold Who cares

Be bold Who cares

Everyone has an appointed place in life…and where one is appointed, respect befalls them almost automatically…

No matter the size of your empire, your car, your house, your bank account…it is big enough to be your very own Kingdom…your own shrine of joy…

Do not pay attention to the boasting of others, for as they boast you can also…joy is not made up of numbers but of real raw emotion…

Look at what you have today and allow the feeling of appreciation to overcome you…

You have your own kingdom to reign supreme over…as the chicken humbly reigns over its nest equally the lion reigns supreme over his jungle…Be bold in your situation…

♥ ℓä̤̣̇vergné

“When a blind person starts to lead a blind person, they fall into a pit”

“Choose your friends wisely”…every parent educates their young…

“Don’t give in to peer pressure”…every teenager is advised before they embark on a journey of independence…

The above are a few of many life lessons involving relationships we form as life progresses…

Select the few you consider fit enough to be your friend…its a pick and choose affair and nothing less…

Questions one should ask themselves range from:
•Has my life improved in any way since this friendship began?
•Am I myself around this particular person?
•is my attitude changing towards things I felt uncomfortable about before?

Following a bad seed is one of the easiest, temporarily fulfilling roads in life…why…the bad seed has no desire to give you the red light and they dare not mention the big NO…so its a free for all, anything goes…

They also possess a welcoming spirit that graduates in making everything glitter with gold…

Inevitably you will both enter a dark pit and the person who rescues you will not be the friend that led you there in the first place…

A simple mind is the playground of evil…be careful who influences your actions and thoughts…for “when a blind person starts to lead a blind person, they fall into a pit”

♥ ℓä̤̣̇vergné

“Secret Matters have open exposure as their ultimate destination”

Secret dealings are for one’s conscience to accommodate and deal with how it sees fit…BUT there is a different rule concerning secret dealings with another person…for they are no longer secret!

A good result, situation or even an idea is hardly kept as a secret…for we instinctively share our joys with others…

A bad thing is easily concealed and when against another its even harder to deal with…for we do not know when the other person will eventually sing like a bird…

Life is too long a journey and one day the sparrow must sing…whoever you have hurt…find time and apologise …so the secrets between slowly erase themselves…

Secrets are equivalent to a permanent open wound…close yours so healing can begin its work…

♥ ℓä̤̣̇vergné

How it will be accomplished will reveal itself!!!

Proverb: “How it will be accomplished will reveal itself” ~Yoruba, Nigeria~

Life is full of surprises…and beyond the surprises lies an element of mystery. Every situation has a reason to be a called a situation…

the belief in ‘random’ events is a failure to acknowledge the workings of life. Every issue that makes itself known…hints towards a solution…

There is no such thing as eternal pain, suffering  on earth…that aspect of life is for another realm beyond our imaginations

…every problem has an end…but this end is obtainable only when one searches with insight…

So when a situation that seems out of your control arises…search it for a solution, a way out…because “how it will be accomplished will reveal itself…”

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