Jun 04 2014
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) today hailed the Senate’s passage of a resolution condemning the death sentence of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese Christian woman accused of apostasy. The resolution calls for her immediate and unconditional release from prison, where she recently delivered her newborn baby, who remains in jail with her and her 20 month-old son.
Ibrahim was eight months pregnant when her death sentenced was confirmed for allegedly leaving Islam after authorities were made aware that she was Christian, and she was charged with adultery for her marriage to a Christian man.
The resolution, introduced along with Chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs Chris Coons (D-DE) and Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), reaffirms the U.S. government’s commitment to ending religious discrimination, and calls for the inclusion of religious freedom and respect for international human rights during the drafting of Sudan’s new constitution.
“Imprisoning a woman for simply refusing to recant her faith is a deplorable act that speaks to the kind of religious intolerance that, while blatantly and ignorantly continues to exist today, has no place in the world,” said Rubio. “Whether a Christian from Sudan, or a member of the Jewish community in Israel, religion is not something to be condemned, but rather, to be celebrated. It is a fundamental right that governments around the world should be working to protect – not take away.
“Today, I welcome the Senate’s passage of this bipartisan resolution calling for Ms. Ibrahim’s unconditional release. But it is my hope that this measure encourages the Sudanese government to incorporate international human rights into the country’s new constitution, so that all Sudanese people may know religious freedom,” added Rubio. “While the Senate made strides in its commitment to religious freedom, Ms. Ibrahim is still in the fight of her life. The world is watching as we await the decision of the Sudanese court, and today’s passage is a testament to our obligation to Ms. Ibrahim and her young family.”
“I applaud my Senate colleagues for coming together to call for the unconditional release of Ms. Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman currently imprisoned for peacefully practicing her faith. I hope this resolution will continue to put pressure on the government of Sudan to recognize the importance of religious freedom and incorporate this foundational value into the country's new constitution,” said Inhofe. “I have also been in contact with the State Department asking that the United States give urgent attention to Ms. Ibrahim and her family and explore any opportunity to give them political asylum to ensure their safety.”