U.S. Congress Members Condemn Sudanese Death Sentence, Call for Release of Christian Woman

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses the New Hampshire Rockingham Committee Freed Founder's Dinner on May 9, 2014 in New Castle , New Hampshire. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images North America)
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses the New Hampshire Rockingham Committee Freed Founder’s Dinner on May 9, 2014 in New Castle , New Hampshire. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images North America)

International pressure is mounting on Sudan to release a pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy, with members of the U.S. Congress asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene on her behalf.

On Wednesday, a bi-partisan group of four senators introduced a resolution condemning the sentencing of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim by a court in Khartoum on May 15.

The proposed resolution encourages Sudan to respect religious rights if it wants the United States to normalize relations or lift economic sanctions on the African nation.

“I am disgusted and appalled by the inhumane verdict Ms. Ibrahim has received, simply for refusing to recant her Christian faith,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I also commend Ms. Ibrahim’s courage in refusing to renounce her Christianity, and I encourage her to remain steadfast. The world condemns her verdict and will stand by her in her moment of need,” said Rubio.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma; Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware; and Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

The proposed Senate resolution adds more voices to the international outcry over the situation of Ibrahim, a Christian wife and mother who is pregnant with her second child while shackled in a Sudanese jail. Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, is a U.S. citizen.

In a public letter to Kerry last Friday, Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Roy Blunt of Missouri, both Republicans, called the sentencing of Ibrahim “outrageous.”

“We request your immediate action and full diplomatic engagement to offer Meriam political asylum and to secure her and her son’s safe release,” the senators told Kerry.

After State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the Department of Homeland Security would have to oversee any asylum application filed by Ibrahim or her family, Ayotte and Blunt followed up with a letter asking the two departments to coordinate on the matter.

“Due to the nature of this case, it is critical that there is clarity between your departments regarding the status of the family and their previous requests for assistance from the United States,” the senators wrote on Wednesday. “Any gaps in communication between the departments during this time are simply unacceptable.”

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SOURCE: CNN Religion
Daniel Burke

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