The New Hampshire-based husband and brother-in-law of a pregnant Sudanese woman say they're hoping they can still secure her freedom, even though a key deadline has passed.
Twenty-seven year-old Meriam Ibrahim faces the death penalty for allegedly rejecting Islam and converting to Christianity. Although she says she was raised as a Christian by her mother, Ibrahim's father--who she claims was absent during her childhood--was a Muslim.
According to a Sudanese court, that made Ibrahim Muslim under the law.
The court convicted her of apostasy and adultery (since Muslim women in Sudan are not permitted to marry men outside their faith)* under Sharia law and sentenced her 100 lashes and death by hanging. She had until Thursday to renounce her faith. She refused.
Ibrahim's husband, Manchester resident Daniel Wani went back to his native Sudan to visit her about a year ago, then remained for her trial.
Meanwhile Wani’s brother, Gabriel, remains in Manchester. He says Daniel plans to appeal the ruling, but is concerned about leaving his family home in Khartoum.
“The last time I talked to him yesterday, he said, ‘Oh, some people are watching the house,’” he says. Gabriel says the surveillance has spooked Daniel, who is now seeking protection from the U.S. government.
The Wani brothers are also Christian and have been US citizens since 2005. Gabriel says Daniel initially went to Sudan to bring his pregnant wife and their 20-month old son, Martin to the United States. He says at this point it’s not certain if the Sudanese government will allow Daniel to return to the country with his son.
If the verdict and sentence stand, Meriam Ibrahim is set to be executed in about two years.
*Muslim men in the country are allowed to marry non-Muslim women.